Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/409083-Getting-Ready-For-Bigger-Things
by Joy
Rated: E · Fiction · Teen · #409083
A Brazil nut tree reminisces
         I am a lone tree in a public park in Belém or Pará, as people like to call the city, which is in northern Brazil. Because I have escaped execution and I'm well protected here, some say this is very fortunate. I don't know about that. It gets lonely sometimes. Especially when I think of the massacre. . .

         Although I am fully grown now, all to a handsome hundred feet tall, I was once a sapling, living together with family and friends along the Rio Pará, a tributary of the Amazon. When they wanted to extend the harbor, they did away with most of us. The worst holocaust I've ever seen. . .

         I was spared because I looked healthy and I had borne a good crop of my first fruit. The nuts I produced were perfectly triangular, and their oily kernels were to die for.

         Such a scary day it was, that day. Someone came near me with an axe, but a stout foreman stopped him. He chalked an X on my trunk and the axe man chopped my sister to pieces instead of me. Then they dug around me and pulled me out of the earth with a crane. How my roots hurt! The pain shook me all the way to the ends of my leaves. They took me half alive in a truck up the hill and planted me here. It took me weeks to feel awake again.

         A year later, a scientist came and nailed a plaque on my trunk showing my title which said: "Scientific classification: The Brazil nut tree belongs to the family Lecythidaceae. It is classified as Bertholletia excelsa." I didn't need that title; neither did I need the hurt inflicted on me once more.

         A few decades after that, I grew and grew and grew, and the plaque got lost somewhere in my middle. To see it now, one has to climb probably twenty to thirty feet up my trunk. Humans. . . What do they know?

         From where I stand, I see the tree tops along the river and the faraway jungle, or rather, what's left of it. Sometimes, the wind and the birds bring news and good tidings from my pals. They all tell me I am so lucky. Am I?

         I have witnessed the massacre of my entire family and parts of the rain forest. I have seen more saw mills built and more jungle cleared for farmland or rubber plantations. A few years back, smog started hanging over the factories and the city. I have witnessed men killing men, soldiers taking over, men throwing stones at each other. Some fifty years ago, two men hid inside my branches for several days. Then the soldiers came to shoot them down. If you climb up, you'll see the bullet holes in my branches. I still have a few bullets lodged in my trunk that I haven't succeeded to shake down.

         I'll never understand humans. They classify everything, even themselves, according to color to boot. They call each other preto (black), escuro (dark), mulato escuro (dark brown), or mulato claro (light brown). Why they do that passes me by. They call each other with other names, too, just to make each other angry. Then the fights break, and I start shivering inside because I fear they'll inflict more bullet holes in my trunk.

         If it weren't for the wind and the birds and that homeless little boy who sleeps with his back to my trunk, I'd die of depression with everything I have been through and everything I fear will happen.

         That little boy is an exceptional human. They call him "mulato escuro" or Joaquim the gypsy. I think his classification is not acceptable among men because he has stayed homeless for several years now. The first time I saw him, he was a weakling. He could hardly walk. He sat on my side away from the park and cried with hunger. To cheer him up, I did the samba to the rhythm of my falling nuts. He found a stone, cracked the shells, and ate them. Sometimes I still do that for him if I think he's too hungry. Recently though he has found something to make him forget his hunger.

         What he found is a book, torn and used, but he keeps reading it. Graciliano Ramos's Vidas Secas . It means "Barren Lives". I used to hate books because they reminded of the massacre, but seeing Joaquim so engrossed and happy made me change my mind. After my time is up, I wouldn't mind being made into books, because I have seen how they console lonely little boys.

         Right now, as I stare at the harbor, I am seeing a huge liner starting up the waterway to cross the Atlantic. At the same time, down in the park, a priest is visiting with Joaquim. Maybe he'll give him more books and better shelter than I can. Maybe Joaquim will never go hungry again. Maybe that priest will get him ready for bigger things like that ocean liner sailing on to the ocean. Oh, Please God. . . I do hope so!

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