Are these the same trees or the children of the trees that used to be
here? Nothing changes space more than trees. They rest us. At dusk,
exhausted & streaked with dirt, we sit beneath trees with slices of
melon. We joke. We sing. I never knew the farmer liked to sing till I
got old & he told me. Why would you hide this from a child? Singing
was his hope. In my family when people did not get what they
wanted, they walked out a door & stared at the horizon. They sang
too. My mother sang in English & my father sang in Arabic. They
disappeared for awhile or trimmed a tree with long clippers. Better
than hitting. Better than cursing or drinking I guess. I sat in the cool
den under the pine trees between my house & Barbara's house. The
farmer's grandfather used to own our street too. Our street was once
part of this farm. When I find Barbara this trip she says, "I don't
remember you so much. I remember your brother." In the old days
while everybody was secretly singing I hiked to the farm. Talked to
trees along the way. Told them our troubles. Purchased lima beans
for my mother. Asked for okra & Caroline folded the top of the bag
so neatly. As if she didn't have thousands of things to do.

:: Naomi Shihab Nye, in Five Points 3:2, Winter 1999

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