Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: The tree – and my very big birthday

Posted on 05 April 2017 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

My realtor’s car pulled into the parking space designated No. 606 and we both emerged from the vehicle, I – staring into the lipstick red blooming bougainvillea tree, demarking the end space in that section of the lot – immediately fell in love … with the tree. I didn’t need to see the apartment. I wanted to live near that tree. And to add to such largess, its twin sister stood straight and tall only feet from the front door.

With a short cursory look around, “I’ll take it” were the very words my realtor had hoped to hear. Within weeks, my precious “stuff” slinked easily into 1450 sq. ft., after having been surrounded [by additional stuff] and overstuffed into 3500 sq. ft., and I felt like twinkle toes.

That was almost three years ago; and, alas, the parking lot tree has since lost its bloom, its branches dry as a cadaver, standing sentinel over my parking space (which I never use since I have a garage). Every time I looked at it, I felt like crying. Every time guests parked there, I wanted to engage them in a hugging ceremony with me. Dead as the proverbial doornail, it might have been in a Vermont forest in mid January.

I mourned my tree for months, ambivalent about its presence. How long do you keep a dead body in full view? The sun burst on it, the clouds rained on it, but there it stood, motionless, bare and desolate.

And today, as I hauled my garbage to the dumpster abutting the space – OMG! — my tree was gone, a mere stump of it still snug in the earth. I stared at the emptiness and I heard my Ibis chirping nearby. I watched the mother duck-in-residence waddling in front of her babes on the parking lot. The scene was funereal.

Then, I had an out-of-body experience. Some other me – not the one I thought I knew — walked around among the various flowers and bushes in the community with a pan and a clipper and a trowel. I collected a variety of colorful flowers into the pan, pulled out a stool from my garage (I have an old cranky back that doesn’t take well to bending.) dragged my water hose to the spot, doused the earth around the stump, and proceeded to plant flowers around it. And, boy, did that make me feel good!

And here’s the thing. I wanted to write a thoughtful, insightful, philosophical piece about reaching my 90th birthday this month. I wanted to list everything I learned about life, to dispense my wisdom and advice, to pontificate on “my secrets” of longevity and to extoll with infinite gratitude the randomness of just plain good luck. But, instead, I wrote about my dead tree, and the joyousness of living flowers in its place.

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