The Trees We Grow Up With

There is this tree that stands on occupied land and looks out on a few neighborhoods. My earliest memory of this tree – that I have no idea the kind – was of a military tank standing there while the neighborhood was pitchblack almost fourteen years ago.
“I want to see this tree,” my dear friend once told me.
“Yeah, I’ll take a picture of it,” I replied. To this day, when this is brought up, I tell her that I really did not know what I was saying and that I truly meant I would love to have her over and show it to her through a window. Slip of the tongue, eh?

That is just one tree I have been growing up with for the past ten years or so. The other kind of tree is the one whose branches have yet to reach my bedroom window: the olive tree. In the past few weeks, I have come to observe that these trees are everywhere. Of course, I know this, but I never truly took it in. For instance, in the past few years on my way to univeristy, the service taxi passes between two large groves of olive trees on either side. In mid-September to October, if one plays close attention, one can see families gathered under the shades of these trees, picking the ripe olives. Only the other day was I taken aback by the beauty and the number of olive trees filling these two pieces of land.

Years before these past eleven years, I grew up around enormous pine trees. I grew up around trees I didn’t know the name of but were equally as tall. I was living in a much larger area with wider roads, bridges, and lakes and ponds scattered around.

Both places are not static. Like any other place, they’ve surely changed over the years. My small neighborhood with a dead-end and a few houses changed! Neighbors moved. Neighbors got married. Neighbors had babies. Neighbors passed away. Everyone grew up.

All the while, the trees, the very replica of a charm my grandmother gave me when I was six or seven, have not changed. Neither have those pine trees. Nor has that tree that my dear friend wanted to see and that looks over the neighborhoods. They remain in the cycle of photosynthesis. They remain a place where we carve our deepest secrets. Perhaps, that is where our symbolism of hope and peace and growth lies…in the barks of beautiful trees, for they remain as we grow and grow.

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