On Having a Favorite Tree

I'm going to go ahead and state the obvious: I used to be young, and now I have a favorite tree. I get weirdly excited about this particular tree, you see. It's along a road leading to the elementary school my children used to attend. You can pass this tree all winter long and not notice it. You can drive by it all summer without a glace.

But in spring, you notice this tree. You gawk at this tree. You want to let out a low whistle of appreciation for this tree. You annoy your pre-teen (who, for the record, is too pre-teen-y to find it cool to have a favorite tree, although she'll concede that this one is nice) by making her open her window and use your phone to take a picture while you drive by at a snail's pace. 

This tree deserves being noticed. This tree deserves being captured when its in full bloom.

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On Tuesdays I don't go onto campus. Instead, like a throwback to Covid days, I work from home. I grade assignments from my kitchen table, still wearing the exercise clothes from my morning visit to the gym. To break up working, I do other types of work: starting and folding a load of laundry, collecting trash from all the bins and rolling the trash cans to the curb, making sure we have all the groceries needed for the remaining meals this week. These household tasks serve as a buffer, a needed break of doing something productive with my hands instead of my mind. Then it's back to actual work at the kitchen table.

Today, however, I wanted to take a little detour outside of the house. I drove to visit the tree like I'd visit an old friend. It's a mere 10-minute round trip loop from home to the tree and back again, but I took a few extra moments to park my car on an adjacent road, walk toward the tree, and savor the view.

These blossoms don't last long, you know. My eyes wandered from the trunk to the knobby, strong, sprawling limbs. I noticed how the breeze caused the faintest rise and fall of branches, like the tree was shyly waving in greeting. I wondered if this tree is one of the homeowner's most prized possessions, a treasure akin to Jim's watch or Della's hair in O. Henry's Gift of the Magi, something they'd never brag about, but take great pride in owning. We're the people with the tree, I imagine them saying.

Of course, I have to move on. My work from the kitchen table calls, but this detour was just what I needed today.


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