I read today that the trees in the city of Melbourne have email addresses. What a lovely idea! The intention was that people could report broken branches and such, but beyond that intention people have been sending love letters and conversational pen pal communications to the trees. Sometimes, the trees answer back.
There is a row of pines on 41st Street, part of my morning walk in nice weather, who I consider friends. They stand in a tall green line along a grey block wall, unexpectedly forest-like in this asphalt and concrete desert city.
As I walk beneath their resinous branches, I reach my hands up to brush the green needles and send them greetings of love. Sometimes I stop and touch the rough trunk of each tree, or offer a symbolic drink from my water bottle. I worry that they don’t get enough water, but they seem healthy enough.
When I haven’t walked the neighborhood for some time, I begin to miss them. I wonder in this long hot summer, when I’m forced to walk the air conditioned mall to avoid heatstroke, if the trees miss me too?
Driving by in my car is not the same, somehow: the pace too fast, the tinted windows a barrier, the focus on wherever I’m headed a distraction. There they patiently stand in the grueling heat while I whiz past in air conditioned comfort without a thought. I wonder how they manage in this heat that they can’t escape.
I’d love it if my tree friends had an email address, or a facebook page. We could stay in touch during the dog days of summer. Would they call me out for being a wimp? “@ClairePerkins, If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the desert – LOL” Maybe they’d post a live cam of a sparrow’s nest nestled in their boughs, or a selfie as they sway wildly in a monsoon wind.
It would be fun to stay in touch that way. But it will be even better when the weather cools down and I can manage once again to walk beneath their soft, green canopy and greet them face to face.