Because trees are playing a big rule in my life since I can remember.

One of my first memories is myself sitting up on the branches of a guava tree, having a long talk with my friend (the tree!) about how sad I was. I can not remember because of what, I just remember the crispy branche skin feeling on my hands and face, my deep and strong hug with “my friend”, and the feeling of safety I had on her lap. The feeling that on her I could trust, she would never hurt me.

We lived in a small city in the countryside, it was not a farm or cottage, it was inside a city! And we had an orchard in our backyard: 3 huge mango trees, 1 guava tree, 1 avocado tree, 3 lemon trees and some others! I could not climb just the mango trees, also I passed much of my time looking them and trying to figure out how could I ever do that, and, of course, eating their delicious mangos – all my t-shirts had permanent mango marks on it, if you don´t know, mangos are like apples, they dye the fabrics forever, because my very good child technic to get the flesh of the fruit was to bite a small peace of its skin out, leaving a little whole on it, and squeeze the inside out, on my mouth, and on my t-shirts… (if you are not from a tropical country, the mangos with the heat of summer, their season, get very soft when they are too ripe, almost liquid, actually like a cream. That´s how my “technic” could work out.)

Then I am already 8 or 9 years old, and I am reading my first novel (it was the first book I read that had more letters than images). And the book was called “Meu pé de laranja lima”, a children literature best-seller in Brazil in that time (70´) a story about a boy and his friendship with… a tree. I am underneath my bed, trying to read in that shadowy place because I was ashamed. I was reading, and crying (I cryed so much with this book till I got sobbing), and I remember very well how amazed I got of finding out a page of paper could move my bossom so much, could bring me to tears and to laugh and change completely my emotions, I got so amazed that I never stop to read anymore, reading was by far the thing I most did in my life until now. I even decided some years later that happened to give my life for the books (I studied history and literature the last 17 years at the University, and all my jobs had to do with them). And everything started with the story of a tree.

And I could keep going, remembering for example how I have decided just before I left Brazil, that I would start to fight for the trees. I mean, politicaly speaking. Because although Brazil is one of the countries that (still) have the most areas covered with forest in the world, in our cities people kind of “hate” trees, they think trees just give us work to do (to clean the “dirty” of their leaves!), and they cut them all! I remember my childhood the cities in Brazil had much more trees, it was pleaseant to go for a walk underneath their shadow and do not have that hellish sun burning your head (some old streets of Rio de Janeiro are still like that, with huge old trees on them, you feel cool, fresh, walking in a 40° temperature day is not a big deal). But the big cities, and even the small ones in Brazil are getting a desert, and so the Amazon. That´s why. That´s why I was thinking inside a cab in Sao Paulo, I remember, looking the “desert” our cities are becoming (not a single tree I saw this day) my thoughts were, “you know, that´s what I am going to do beside teaching literature, I´m gonna fight for the trees”.

But I didn´t. I left my country just some months after that thoughts.

nina and me, Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, 2005

nina (on my lap) and me, Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, 2005

I also want, before I get completely lost in my remembrances, to link this site about a book that I always wanted to have since I know it exists, but never find to buy (if anyone know, pleeease, tell me how, it´s out of print).

Jérôme Hutin went on many trips around the world (it took him 5 years) to photograph the oldest trees in the world. Then he wrote this book with the pictures he took, “Les Arbres Vénérables”. Beauty. And he´s doing, he´s fighting for the trees. You´re my hero, Jérôme!



January 23, 2009 Posted by | Thoughts and Feelings | 3 Comments