Creative

Jacaranda- Sophie Barlow

By January 15, 2019 October 22nd, 2019 No Comments
By Sophie Barlow
The jacaranda tree stood tall in the middle of the backyard.
It was the highlight feature; everything else was unremarkable.
The dead patch of dirt where the above ground pool used to be. A swing-set, the stock standard one that was owned by every house with children living there. A garden shed,
made of corrugated iron, and housed redbacks. An old barbecue, the cooking plate
sitting unused and rusted over the pit that would have housed a fire. A Hills Hoist. Of all of these, the jacaranda was what drew the attention.
The jacaranda tree stood tall in the middle of the backyard.
It stood tall and strong, easily clearing the roof of the house, which was only a single story. It’s limbs and branches, blooming with the delicate purple petals , were sturdy; strong enough so that that children never hesitated when they would climb up and through and in and around the jacaranda. They would frolic underneath as the flowers floated to the ground, or gently landed in their hair. They would around the trunk, in an almost pagan-like manner, as if they were paying homage to the gods, to Mother Nature, to Gaia, thanking them for this gift. When the children could sense that a storm inside the house was about to break, they would race outside, and find comforting, shelter beneath the jacaranda. While their parents would scream at each other, back and forth, back and forth, the children would transport themselves to an imaginary world of their own making, where they could drown out the sound of yelling.
When their father would storm out the back, heading to the car so he could leave, his face red as bottle-brush, the children would race up the branches to the foliage, the safety, the jacaranda provided them. They would watch their father leave, with a furious rev of the engine and squeal of the tires, hidden amongst the flowers.
The jacaranda tree stood tall in the middle of the backyard.
But it was too close to the house. The roots were extending, creeping insidiously, towards the foundation. Already, cracks had begun to form in the concrete floor of the patio. It would not be long until the roots would reach under the house, crushing the water pipes and wrecking who knows what else. The children’s father told them that the tree would have to be destroyed. The children cried why did the tree have to be taken down? The tree was theirs. It wasn’t harming anyone. No matter how much their father tried to explain to them the jacaranda is damaging the house, we won’t be able to live here if the tree damages the house they still don’t understand why it needs to go. It was their tree. Their father had no right to take it from them.
The jacaranda tree stood tall in the middle of the backyard.
The men came, with ropes and tarps and chainsaws and shovels, to cut it down. The children watched as they tied the ropes to the upper limbs of the tree. Three of the men pulled the ropes, holding their body weight to the ground while two other men started digging at the base of the tree. The men chopped and cut and stabbed at the ground with the shovels, exposing the roots. They took the chainsaw to the trunk, the metal of the blade churning and whirring and screeching as it cut through the wood. The smell of mower fuel poisoning the children’s nostrils.
Finally, the jacaranda fell, the creaking of the wood splitting and splintering echoing throughout the neighbourhood. As it came down, the jacaranda flowers erupted into the air, a final expulsion signalling the tree’s death knell. The men loaded the wood and branches and leaves into a trailer and covered the clippings with a tarp, and then drove away.
The sun beat down on the children’s skin, shining on them as golden as wattle, as they stared at the empty hole where their jacaranda tree once stood.
The jacaranda tree stood tall in the middle of the backyard.
It was the highlight feature; everything else was unremarkable.
The dead patch of dirt where the above ground pool used to be. A swing set, the stock standard one that was owned by every house with children living there. A garden shed, made of corrugated iron, and housed redbacks. An old barbecue, the cooking plate sitting unused and rusted over the pit that would have housed a fire. A Hills Hoist. Of all of these, the jacaranda was what drew the attention.

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