MITOTE

Empathy

Empathy

In the suburbs,

in a blind side street which no cars cros,

and where even pedestrians are a rare sight,

a tree is lying.

Someone felled it,

or it fell on its own.

 

A walnut tree, five or six meters tall, now long, its leaves still green, the yield gone, I collected it the other day.

It was easy, I didn’t have to climb.

I picked every last small green nut, standing and crouching in the midst of the arched treetop on the sidewalk.

It, the tree, doesn’t need them anymore, and I do, I know what to do with them.

And today, a few days later, I’m at the same spot. And I feel weird… I see that something’s wrong, but I don’t know what… something about that tree is bugging me. I dive into the treetop again to search for another nut… and than it hits me – the leaves on the fallen tree are still green.

It’s not drying, fresh burgeons are growing even.

How is that, hm? How is that?

I approach the tree, the place where it grows out of the earth, and I see that the tree wasn’t felled.

It hasn’t been knocked down at the root, it’s not broken anywhere.

It just bent at the spot right above the root.

It bent as if it were made of plastic or rubber, spilling its green branches across gray city asphalt.

There are no birds on its branches, the wind isn’t rustling its leaves, it doesn’t grow towards the sky…

It wants to rise, but it can’t.

And when I look at it from the side, the fallen tree looks like it isn’t living anymore…

But it is.

Its spine has been bent to gray city concrete, it wants to get up and spread its leaves towards the sun, but it can’t.

Just like its co-residents, humans.

The city pressed them down to its hot concrete, all the way from the downtown to the outskirts.

They’re living, but they’re not.

They can’t stand up.

But if they were to just make a single step and offer a hand to the fallen tree, they would manage to stand up.

Both, the tree and the citizens.