This is my favorite tree in LA. It’s about forty minutes into my favorite hike and I like to sit there under the shade and enjoy the breeze if there is one, which there almost always is.
One day I was sitting there with my friend, Lisa, talking about my heart and how it was getting harder and harder to imagine really giving it to anyone again. There is a point, you know, when your heart has been broken so thoroughly that you pretty much have to just lock it up, turn off the lights, and hope anyone knocking assumes you’re not home. So I was saying as much to Lisa, who is the kind of friend who really listens even when she doesn’t agree with you. She looked at me quietly with her large limpid eyes and let me pour it all out to her.
I know she wanted to tell me not to give up, not to close up entirely, but before she could even get the words out of her mouth, this lovely older couple rounded the bend and asked if they could join us under the tree to enjoy the shade, as it was really hot that day.
They were immigrants, I’m not sure where from, but Eastern European seems about right. The husband’s English was better than his wife’s, and he was the talkative one of the two. He was so sweet with his wife, who walked with a cane and seemed to be slowing him down a bit, but he didn’t seem to mind at all.
He told us that this was also his favorite tree in Los Angeles. He said that he and his wife had been walking past it for years, and that it has survived several fires in the Hollywood hills. Once he pointed it out, it was obvious. The earth around it has been scorched in places and it’s missing some limbs. There are a few other trees on that hillside but most are funny charred little stumps. But this tree, this tree is still growing and green and providing shelter from the sun. It’s a survivor, he said. It just won’t die, it keeps coming back.
Lisa turned to look at me after they left, her eyes wide. “Can you believe that?” she asked. She put her hand on my arm for emphasis, “did you get that?” I was feeling sort of trembly, but trying to be all Capricorn and cool about it. I’m still trying to be all Capricorn and cool about it, to be honest, but facts are facts.
Sometimes the universe is right there when you need it, all you have to do is listen.