My relationship with trees in cities

estimated reading time: 2 minutes

I used to ignore trees, probably I still do most of the time. But when for brief moments I happen to be near them, I feel protected, I see hope in them. I was once jogging around the Island for some minutes, which happened to be tiring, so I decided to stop and take a sort of nap, having had enough sport for the day. I usually stop in the best possible spot, on the grass, under trees.

It was early evening. Everywhere was dark but the sky was still lit by the last rays of sun. I didn’t care much about the sweat that impregnated my clothes, although it was a bit annoying. I was too tired to do anything other than lying down on the grass. I inevitably looked up to the sky and, while I was concentrating on it, I noticed the black branches of the tree over me. Trees are almost everywhere, they are so common that one doesn’t stop to admire them. It’s rare to look for a prolonged time to a normal tree: most of the time one doesn’t notice them unless they are unique, tall, strangely coloured.

 I didn’t have any particularly deep thoughts while I was under it, I was just thinking that I would never lay on the ground with my normal clothes. After all, the ones that I was wearing were already soaked in sweat, so I didn’t care. I noticed the presence of trees only the second time I went running, unfortunately in another season. Plants and trees are the most sedentary living beings on this planet, they live from birth to death in the exact same spot. I thought I was the second most sedentary, going jogging once every two months. “At least I went”, I kept repeating. 

Since that second time I love staying under trees, not the ones in a forest, but rather those that interrupt a definite artificial pattern, be it cement or architectural buildings. They create interruptions, they implicitly give to the people who inhabit these spaces the sense of living in a non-hostile place, even if it seems (or is) so. I love trees in cities, particularly in Venice, because they represent my effort to run. They are artificially present in places that are hostile to life, just like people when they lose contact with nature. A tree in a flower bed or in a park tells us it’s all right to inhabit that space. Like a mother who, when her baby is injured, tells them it’s all right, even if it’s not.

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