I’m not sure what exactly in our conversation prompted her statement. I do remember we were both in primary school at the time, so she no longer lived in our building, even if she was visiting her grandmother a lot. I had a vague idea about the part of town where she and her parents lived – it was the kind of area you went through on your way to somewhere else. To me, she was the same girl I knew for as long as I could remember. We were the same age and as close as children who start developing memories and ideas while growing together can be, and that was the only reason why I was still allowed to play with her.
“You take trees for granted here. In my neighbourhood, when we see a tree, we celebrate it,” she says, and I take a moment to consider her strange statement. She’s exaggerating, I decide. Trees are just there… they’re everywhere… what does she mean with that?
But she wasn’t wrong. I was too used to all the green around me, even if I also lived in a block of flats. With all the parks and trees in our neighbourhood, it never really crossed our young minds that some parts of town weren’t like that. A few years later I started visiting her; I also had other friends living in that part of town, much to my grandmother’s dismay. There really weren’t that many trees over there…
Those words have been echoing in my mind this entire month… I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the linden trees in bloom, their fragrance here reminding me of their fragrance there, in my childhood home. Perhaps it’s the fact that I had to consider going there for a funeral, and this stirred many memories and buried feelings. Either way, I needed the blooming linden trees this year, with that amazing fragrance. If it usually sneaks up on me and I go, “oh, it’s that time of year again”, this summer I’ve impatiently waited for the first linden trees in my neighbourhood to bloom… and when they did, I was once again amazed by how soothing something so simple and natural can be.
I no longer take trees for granted these days. I like observing them, photographing them, even climbing them (in the middle of nowhere, of course) and reminiscing about days gone by. I recently went away for a long weekend and while I was exploring a new place, I found myself completely oblivious of everything else, only taking in the linden tree in front of me. Like I said, I was impatiently waiting for linden trees to bloom… because so many beautiful things happened in the past when their fragrance filled the summer air. So who knows, maybe they still have some miracles in store, right?
Last week would have been a much better time for this post, as the Lens Artists’ weekly challenge was Trees. Unfortunately I couldn’t meet the deadline, but I did want to share these thoughts with all of you, so I hope Ann-Christine will forgive me.