Friday, August 24, 2012

Lines of Sight

Hard-hatted workers have removed the small plum tree from the plazita by the Language Arts Office at Foothill. Apparently it blocked an architect's idea of a line of sight.

In all my life—all my travels—I've never seen anything more beautiful than that plum tree.

When it was in bloom I'd ask my students to draw it, or to go look at it for awhile. Sitting near it between classes, I liked to think about what it meant.

For a long time I allowed it to remind me of someone.

On occasion it brought to mind an anecdote about Faulkner. He once asked a woman if she wanted to see a bride in her wedding dress; she said yes; he drove with her at night, through fields, until turning his headlights upon an apple tree in bloom.

On melancholy mornings that little plum tree never failed to return to my life a sense of wonder and optimism. It reassured me of—let me phrase it this way—God's love, or of the love of the gods, and of life's ongoingness, and of the persistence of beauty. It's absence will now remind me of the persistence of folly.

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