There’s a tree in my yard that I call the magic tree. Well, it’s not quite in my yard, but it is in the neighbors’ yard, maybe 20 feet from my yard. I visit the magic tree when I like, and they don’t mind.
I call it the magic tree because it is hollow, and somehow still alive. It’s an elderly, dying apple tree. For a long time I didn’t even know it was an apple tree, because it no longer bears. My neighbors, a retired couple who raised their family there next door, tell me it once had wonderfully delicious apples.
From my side of the yard, it just looks like a pitiful old tree, droopy and wan. I lived here for years and never knew its secret. But walk around to my neighbors’ side, and you can see a head-sized hole that reveals the tree’s hollow bole. How it lives and makes leaves, I do not know. It has one foot on the other side of life. It’s as hollow as a straw from roots to crown.
I don’t show its hollowness to everyone. You have to look, or be shown, to understand what makes this old tree magic. It’s my secret, and my neighbors’, and a few of my friends’. And yours too, but only a little bit, since one must see it to truly appreciate it.
I looked at the magic tree today, idly, out the window. A group of bluejays were fighting in its branches. Swooping, pecking, fluttering. Maybe five of them. I looked more closely. What were they fighting over?
There seems to be a single apple on a limb of the magic tree.
What an amazing fine old plant you are, magic tree, making summer fruit from your hollow self. You should be dead, and yet you bear fruit to feed the birds.
I don’t think there’s a lesson here. There’s just the wonderful magic tree in my back yard. Isn’t that enough?
I went out to have a look! There’s actually TWO apples on the branches of the old apple tree, and six or eight rotting on the ground.
Also in the yard today: the gorgeous web of the equally gorgeous writing spider, and a brace of 3 or 4 bathing-beauty juvenile titmice, going one at a time into the bird bath in the front yard. My, what a fine morning.