This is the Easter Tree my mum made this year.
I don’t know if other famillies have an Easter Tree or if it is something my grandmother invented because she liked celebrating special occasions in style. I have never seen one in anyone else’s house and people always look at me blankly if I mention having one so I don’t think they can be very common! I think it is a shame if no one else makes them though because it is nice to celebrate the spring and they make the house look cheerful.
When I was 7 I learnt that paper cranes are made to carry wishes and so throughout my life I became accustomed to giving them my wishes to protect.
On a train hurtling through Spain I asked my paper crane to find my a home for the night. It found me a tent and some friendly faces.
I made the next paper crane out of an old sweet wrapper and I asked for the abilty to translate my heart. As I fell asleep that night I listened to my heart beats and understood their confused meaning.
The last crane I made was made on a Tuesday and it contained every wish I had ever had. It should have been heavy with all those wishes but when I had finished folding it flew away without a word.
I turned from the open window not knowing when or where it would return just knowing that it would.
Warm nutmeg, hot coffee and a small dog at my feet. Outside the air bites and the silver stars shine. Inside contentment and lethergy mingle not too unpleasantly as my bones thaw and face begins to glow.
We could be bored or thinking about things we haven’t got. Things we really want. We could be listless, restless or melancholy. But we are not.
We are peaceful, the dog and I.
In another life, and in another time, I was shot in the stomach. Although you can’t see beneath my wooly jumpers and winter coat I still have these tiny bullet holes that let icy daylight pass right through me. They don’t hurt like physical pain hurts, but they ache with dull overwhelming emptiness.
Each wound is a tiny black hole that sucks me in until I become an just an outline – more icey daylight than real person. Sometimes the power of these holes is so strong that I feel that there is no me left at all.
Lately though I have started to get the feeling that the daylight passing through me is slightly wamer and my outline is more defined. I think that even bullet wounds heal when you give them enough time.
As a bit of a change here is a new song that I wrote this weekend:
A shower of orange leaves fell into her lap as she sat on the bench.
“What are you doing here Cynthia?” She said adressing an empty park.
Her wrinkled hands trembled as she clutched at a battered suitcase. She touched her hair nervously, conscious that she hadn’t looked in a mirror since Lancaster.
In the 37 years that had passed since she had left the town had changed beyond recognition. The shoe shop where she had had her her feet measured as a little girl now sold special fried rice and chips with gravy, housing estates now stood on the fields where she had once run wild, but above all else it was the attitude of the people that had changed.
Had she had over romantised the place?
A train rattled in the distance bringing with it a sudden flash of warm yellow light.
“No, no. It wasn’t always like this.” She said out loud shaking her head. “They have changed. They are harder. They don’t know each other anymore. They didn’t even realise that I am a stranger here.”
A couple of teenagers sniggered as they passed the old women hunched up on the bench.
She pinned them with her cold watery blue eyes and their laughter stopped short.
One of the boys looked familiar.
“A Butler if I’m not mistaken. The chin is a give away.”
The wind carried the whispered remark close enough to the boy’s ears that he looked around in alarm. Cynthia’s face was frozen and her lips motionless.
Alone again, Cynthia shivered and pulled her coat further around her. She looked at her gold watch – half an hour until she could check into her B & B. It was a mistake coming back.
She slowly gathered her strength and heaved her creaking bones from the park bench. As she did so she noticed the sun glint on church clock in front of her.
“You silly old fool Cynthia”. She mumbled as moved quickly as her aged limbs would carry her on the path back into town. Half stumbling she fell onto her knees and began clawing at the ground.
“It was the wrong bench”
She wept with cold and frustration and dug until finally she had it in her hand.
She had opened it so many time in her mind over the years, over and over and over, but now she had it she found she was shaking.
Inside she found her treasure so perfectly preserved that she could hardly believe it.
A single cinema ticket, buried as a reminder of a first date, a first love and the moment that he had first kissed her.
She clicked the box shut and put it safely inside her handbag. As she slowly walked along the high street to her B & B ghosts and shadows from her past flickered in the neon street lights.
“I’m not a stranger here. That’s why they didn’t notice me” she said addressing bemused shoppers.
“It’s all about making the most of who you are” says the beech tree, a natural beauty, swathed in a rich gown of orange. “Yes, some might say that I am a bit on chunky side but it is who I am and what makes me, me”
The silver birches sway in elegantly in agreement. They are dressed from head to toe in small yellow leaves that catch the light and then disappear.
“Fashion is fleeting, but style never fades. Just look at that old oak there. Sure you could dress it up in purple, or add wifi and touchscreen it but would that make it anymore more beautiful than it already is?”
The beech has a point. The grand old oaks with there deep red coats may well be a bit behind the times but does that really matter? When the light shines through the leaves it is impossible to imagine anything anymore magnificent.
“We trees put up with a lot. Rain, Wind,Snow. Not to mention the number of dosy pigeons that make nests in us and then losing forget where they’ve made them. All we ask that we are recognised for who we are.”
It is a simple enough request but sadly one that falls on deaf ears. Each year we see hundreds and thousands of christmas trees fall victim to the fashion industry.
“The poor trees are made to feel inadequate unless they are wearing the ‘right’ ornaments, or have grown to a perfectly triangular shape.” bemoans the beech. “It demeaning and unnatural. But there is so much pressure on them to conform. What is worse the stress of conforming has become so great that the poor Christmas trees no longer shed there leaves in winter, or take on a autumn coat. Can you imagine? Autumn is our one big chance to show the world who we are – and these trees have that moment of glory stolen from them in the name of fashion”
The thought saddens me to the core as I watch the golden sun shine through the orange and red and yellow leaves of trees all shapes and sizes.
Every tree deserves an autumn coat and the chance to shine.