09. THE LONELY TREE

Artwork by Elicia Edijanto

May 2011
Lobitos
Peru

In lands where the wind travels from far away, where the rocks get the heat from the sun like the roofs of old houses in the narrow streets of Lisbon, I found a part of me. Black, yellow and green under my feet before he could move. I found it in a branch of a tree. I asked if he had been waiting for a long time. Gently, opening his eyes, he told me in a quiet tone:

– Time is relative. Time is not time anymore.
The time that once was colour and also pain now lives in the leafs.
Green leafs that one day will be brown. Brown leafs that were once green.
Leafs that fall and feed my tree, leafs that cover me at night when the rain falls.

I Sat. I sat while his words filled my chest, warmed up my skin and made me take another blast of air. I love you heart of mine. Come back to where I lost you.

– Be patient chest of mine, that moment will come soon and it will fulfil you painlessly.

I see sand. I see the seas and the sky. They can see me too. From this moment they will join me till my heart comes back to my chest.
I ask him why he likes that tree so much.

– With so many beautiful and warm places, why did you choose this simple and lonely beach tree?

– What do you see in this beach? Maybe you can only see sand, or maybe you can also see the sea and the sky, like an ordinary eye. Maybe you’ll say “the sand is yellow, the sea is green and the sky is blue”. Well, there’s much more than that! Everything that you see is what you can’t see! Your chest seems small. Sand, Sea and Sky are like a piece of fruit. Like seeds thrown in the soil. Like water drops that fall and moist. Like when a single and small sprout finds its own light. The light that warms it every morning so it can grow strong and healthy. And maybe only produce a piece of fruit and one day the same fruit finds you and gives you all the love that it collected before discovering you.

Simple and sweet words come out of my heart that no longer inhabits my chest. I’m happy to know that he’s well. In the sand I feel the hug of this small tree and I look around me while his small branches and delicate leafs give me shadow. No longer only grains of sand hold my body. Small sticks, small stones and tiny pieces of shells follow their life cycle. White, yellow, red, brown and much more colours under my body. The sea is not only green anymore, it’s blue, it’s white. The sky is the sea and the sea is life.

I fly. I fly in a sea of colours, above a sea of perfumes. I fly with strong wind that crosses from different directions. I close my eyes and I don’t know where it takes me. I still feel the old salt. Salt on a leaf that while dancing fell and cuddled my arm and peacefully awaited its colour change. I feel the breeze, I feel it covering my nose, passing through my ears and embracing my long hair. I feel my cape flying like migratory birds, like a hat that frees itself from its owner’s head. I look up and see drawings, many drawings created by the tree branches. I try to give form to those drawings and I can’t find them. They are not clouds, they are not birds. They are drawings and drawings they will be. I try to know better that part that once lived in me, I ask him his name and I don’t have an answer. I ask him his age and no answer is given to me. Finally, I ask where is he from and gently he tells me that he’s part of this small tree, that not everything has a name, and not everything has an age.

– We are just energy. Why don’t you ask the name, the age and where the clothes that protect you were born? Why don’t you ask the same to each grain of sand that holds on to your body?

I don’t understand if he really wants an answer or if my silence is enough. We looked at each other till he closed his eyes.
The tree hug is stronger every time. I feel the cortex scratching my back. I touch my back and remove small pieces that try to penetrate my skin and I fall asleep.
I sleep with the noise of the waves. I sleep next to a salty sea, a sacred sea. A real sleep, like a stone sitting on the bottom of a well. So real like child’s thirst. I see him. I see him through the water surface. With a rusty bucket he kills his thirst. I try to call him but stones don’t talk. There’s an old story on the walls, a story written with salty ink, a story that goes “cre, cre, cre” every morning.

I see a man next to the child. A man with short hair, brown skin, long arms, long legs and a sweet smile. On his hands he caries a black kite, handmade with plastic bags, sticks and string. When he releases it, the child smile floods with the salty sea. His curly hair moves together with the black kite. His eyes opened like a pearl of the unknown seas. They move side to side but they never stop starring at the happy black spot. A curved string connects his hand and the kite. A string guided by random emotion that leads to his chest. Patches of colour dominate my eyes. Memories that I thought I would never forget and later recall. I no longer know who I am and I give myself in. I repeat several times “I hope he’s ok, I hope he’s ok, I hope he is ok” until I wake up. I wake up and I can’t find myself. I look around and I’m not there. The north and south do not see me. I can’t see any proof of my existence. My lips break and I feel the salt. I feel a gentle touch on my branches and a whisper that says, “I’ll be always here”. I feel a familiar warmth in my chest. I feel the wise comfort. I feel my fingers again. My arms, I feel several arms, several fingers. I see leaves, I see shadows of branches. I am a tree. I am a beach tree. A simple and solitary beach tree. I call for my heart, for my internal heat. He tells me not to desire, don’t repel.

– Observe. Simply feel the sensations. You are a tree now, a beautiful beach tree and I will walk you. I’ll give you heat on cold days and I will refresh you on warmer ones. On sunny days and on rainy ones.

I’m your heart.
I’m your internal heat.
Observe me.

ARTWORK

Author: Elicia Edijanto
Materials
: Watercolour