In the refuge of the park I am confronted by the Tree of Life.
A tree fern towers above me, a monument to eternity. The giant stands dancing in the wind, its feathered shoots coiled in anticipation of greenness, ready to spring forth, to pop and froth like champagne into the sky. Shoots spreading heavenwards ready themselves to drink in sun and rain, that mother’s-milk cascading from the sky.
Branches, now in middle-age, wave in the breeze, tinges of yellow and brown appearing around the edges. Their beauty has been in their living, the witnessing of life in these gardens. Below, the skeleton of a branch has fallen over. It claws at the earth, its fronds, all traces of green now gone, crumble into dust like a statue in bronze from the Rome we have lost.
A gardener appears, preparing to amputate those signs that time no longer wants, but which remain here on display. With his machete, he kills in one stroke the beauty that supported any suggestion of history. The spectacle revealing the cycle of life has been removed for the convenience of visitors. Death must be concealed, here in this sanctuary for the living.
©2013 S. K. Riley