I was going to do laundry this morning when I passed a tree across the street from my apartment. It had been pruned and had a sign on it. I had a flashback to a conversation with a neighbor in Washington, D.C. She had been pruning the tree in front of our houses and spent many minutes explaining to me that even though her pruning had made it look puny, bald, and not cute, it would be well worth it when Spring came around. I listened to the specific gardening jargon about how this thinning would allow penetration of light and air throughout, resulting in even growth of the foliage. She discussed how vertical branch spacing and radial branch distribution are also important.
So on and so forth. I remember an hour of dazed listening until another neighbor came by and stopped to admire first neighbor's work and I was able to leave -- fast.
So this morning I saw the tree on my block. It was puny, bald, and not cute; no person was standing in front of it. There was, however, a note tied around its circumference. It read:
This tree will thrive and become stronger come Spring.
Now it looks like shit.
So. That's all my neighbor in D.C. had to say. I would have understood that!
"Ever seen a leaf - a leaf from a tree?"
"I saw one recently - a yellow one, a little green, wilted at the edges. Blown by the wind. When I was a little boy, I used to shut my eyes in winter and imagine a green leaf, with veins on it, and the sun shining ..."
"What's this - an allegory?"
"No; why? Not an allegory - a leaf, just a leaf. A leaf is good. Everything's good."
-- Dostoevsky, The Possessed
Dialogue between Kirolov and Stavrogin