Monday, June 2, 2008

I Hate That Tree

We live in a community in the outskirt of Metro Manila. It is a sub-divided spaces with a housing unit in each plot. The occupants, teeming with pride and joy upon owning a lot, planted trees, some were in gardening, and others were in vegetable planting in their yard. Since everybody are planting, the community becomes a greenery. Trees of different varieties adorned the village. There were fruit-bearing trees: avocado, jackfruits, santol, guava, papaya, banana, star-apple, macopa, etc.; trees for shadings: ilang-ilang, banaba, talisay, nim tree –a source of pesticides, fertilizers, and mosquito repellant; and even coconut trees –considered a miracle tree because all its components from inner roots to outer leaves are useful and being a source of cure-for-all virgin coconut oil. However, coconut trees are considered dangerous in a community with clustered houses as its fruits, when matured weighing 1000 to 2000 grams from a height of l5 to 20 meters, that may fall either on the head of a by-standers or playing children will be fatal. In spite of the disadvantages, trees abound in our village. Plantings, sometimes, overlap in land ownership and others outside the plot boundaries. And these causes inert jealousy.


Later, more improvements were done in the areas. Perimeter fences were built defining each boundaries and highlighting the exclusivity of each property. No more picking of flowers, fruits, or vegetables from neighbor’s yard. Some fence were installed to a height that you can’t see anymore the house inside. And the neighbors, who once were living hand in hand, sharing each other with harvests, greeting each other every now and then, . . . now seldom talk to each other. Others were trimming their trees so as not to affect others’ lot and to defuse envious atmosphere.


But my neighbor, situated at the back, refused to cut the tree whose branches stretched to our backyard. Our house has been extended and covered the whole backyard and dried leaves falling on our roof often caused the clogging of roof-gutter. When the rain comes, water overflow, drift in our ceiling and it also rains inside the room giving us so much irritations and inconveniences. We often cleaned the roof-gutter and the down-spout to avoid such flooding. We suggested to our neighbor once more to trim or cut the branches protruding on our yard but they were inattentive, ignoring our plea.


Lately, the tree bore fruits. Some were on the branches over our roof. So, it was not only the leaves but also the rotten fruits that kept bothering us. This is outrageous! Sometimes in the middle of the night, fruit will fall, or during wee hour when you’re napping. . . should I chop those branches! . . . . g-r-r-r-r-r. It always fell when less expected. Imagine a 500-gram fruit falling on the roof! It will banged your ear. Will it not raise your adrenaline and blood pressure and blast you with anger?


One time there was a typhoon. It was strong, packing a maximum center-winds of 200 kilometers per hour. Its path was threading in the direction of our place. The would-be-affected areas were advised to make the necessary preparations to avert any disastrous events. Squatters living on the railways side and low- lying areas were evacuated to nearby school buildings. Typhoons are always associated with heavy rains and flooding; those leaving near the river banks were also advised relocations. Villagers started to fix their walls and roofs. Others trimmed the trees, my neighbor did not. On the first blow of raging wind, my neighbor’s tree swung on our side, rubbing the roof with the sound of chains being pulled on cemented road, back and forth. Leaves filled the surroundings and scattered up and down. Other open trees were uprooted and branches were broken. Galvanized-iron –sheet roofs flew and hurled meters away. Transmission lines whistled through the tune of dancing trees strumming the corrugated sheet roofings of houses in the neighborhood. As the wind changed direction, my neighbor’s tree swayed on their side ripping off the rear part of their roof.


But it’s a wonder how pliant and sturdy was this tree. Some of the branches turned into a reindeer’s horn and it withstood the wrath of the storm while others laid flat on the ground –it should have suffered the same fate to unleash our agonies.


Then, again it’s summer. The tree flourished with vigor, more leaves and branches for the unfinished business. Flowers bloomed and soon, its leaves and fruits will fall again . . . on our roof.

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