April 15, 2011


Yesterday on the way to the park I was struck by a heartening sight. A small tree that had been stumped and left to look like a three foot pole several months prior had sprouted. From top to bottom its sturdy red-brown branches were a testament to its renewed life. Whoever had treated the little tree with such brutality would now find it defiant with vibrancy and I could tell from its new shape, it intended to be symmetrical and beautiful. I applauded its sprit as I passed.

I was thinking these congratulatory thoughts as I entered the park and came upon the cherry tree that had bloomed in February (blog: 2/18/11). Back then, I’d wondered how it would fare, aware that winter was a dangerous time to trumpet petals of spring. Yet on this day, two months later, it continued to bloom, just as it had through the frosts and hail of March, its blossoms now in concert with the flowering trees nearby; and oh, how beautifully it sang in colors strong and boisterous, proud to have endured the tempests of that departing season. 

Sigmund Freud speculated that a death drive exists in each of us which sometimes overrides our pleasure principle. He believed he’d found some physical evidence for his theory through his study of masochistic behavior. But if he is correct, I’d say my two trees, flush with the riot of spring, proclaim this destructive impulse is a weak one.  And if the life force is strong in them, it is equally strong in humans.  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago, or “One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovic” or Anne Frank’s diary are works that belie the death force. April is the month that herald’s life’s supremacy.  

I think it strange that astronomers should peer through their powerful telescopes for signs of existence on other planets. If they saw my two triumphant trees, they’d be bound to ask, “How could there not be life?”