Give a little, but don't give it all....

By 7:22 PM , , , , , , ,

OH! P.S. My friend Sher did a beautiful post on this(the photo shoot), describing St. George's and the route to get there in a very picturesque way.. So if you're local and feel like having a quiet reminder about where we live check it out... and if you're tourist, check her blog out as she paints a beautiful picture with her words.

And for you many of you actually regarded that tree in Willis with great reverence. I never did much follow up on it. I know, I know, I'm a horrible local. However, I heard the residents of the area were complaining about it being an eye sore and then it collapsed. Why is it everything ancient, old, vintage, traditional, historic is an eye sore and needs to be done away with but traditional values which we're clinging onto as a nation that don't work anymore we don't want to let go of?

Jamaica had their silk cotton tree that was one of their tourist attraction (Tom Cringle's Cotton Tree I believe). Guyana had their silk cotton tree that could not be cut down to build a road so they had to build around the tree in Perseverance on the East Coast. As Caribbean territories there's so much folklore surrounding everything that's ancient and old. I remember my mom used to tell me stories about Guyana and that the reason why the trees are so hard to cut down is because the Dutch plantation owners would bury their overseers or someone alive with their money and treasures to protect it. As a result, the spirits linger around the tree. I love telling the story about the tree in Guyana because I like that kind of stupidness/folklore. I like no better fun. She, my mom, even went on to say that long after every time someone would try to cut down the tree, that was in the middle of the road, they would die in the process or soon after and the one time they got a cut in, the tree bled blood. Hence, they built around the tree. Heck, I would build around it too. The original tree fell and a seedling grew back in its place...Mom also said the folklore with silk cotton trees is that you walk by them at night because of all the spirits lingering...

Sher was telling me the folklore is similar here. She knows the local tale as don't walk past at noon nor midnight or else 'booboo gon grab you.' She outlines the tale pretty well... and even if you've never seen the tree I do encourage you to check out her post because it's so well written you can feel looming presence of the tree and the heat of the midday sun as she describes walking past it.

The depressing story is... the tree is no longer there. Funny story is, she said locally, because of all the folklore  it's hard to find someone willing to cut down a silk cotton tree. The irony is, they cut it. Not all the way down because "the tree supports the road." I don't know... they weren't thinking that all the time? They could've trimmed it or something. What if the tree dies now and collapses? Then self its real problems in camp.

And aside from that. It was a landmark.

...And when we did [the passing bus], almost like slow motion, i say almost because it was never slow enough, i took it all in, how thick the trunk was, how wrinkled and just how deep set those wrinkled WERE. I marveled at how high it stood, how far back it leaned like a tired but accomplished grandmother in her easy chair, sitting on her stoop, watching the neighborhood children walk past, their hands tightly clasped in their parents hands...remembering effortlessly when their parents were kids and their grandparents were parents....

...I breathed in the air that surrounded it and wondered, like I’d always wondered. What was the air like in this spot 200 years ago? Who stood at the base of this tree 200 years ago? Was it a slave hating it for what it stood for? Or one appreciating it for it’s merciful shade and lack of judgment? Who stood here 100 years ago? Was it a young couple courting? Was it a teacher and his or her students trying to escape the heat of the classroom? Who stood here 50 years ago? Who was she? Who was he? What did they think of this tree? Or more importantly…what did the tree think of them? Did it smile down at them? Resent them? What had it seen? So so much it must have seen!

I concur. Imagine how many stood before the same tree admiring it throughout history? The same tree we can't cut down fast enough.

C'est tout.

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  1. Raj Eleazer8:59 PM have listened well..the mother tree was found in Perseverance, East Coast Demerara..and many attempts were made to cut it down ..folklore said it bled and of course the woodcutter always were in some accident that led to their death.The old tree fell down and a young tree is now in its place!!!! quite a big trre now..with the road around it !!!