“Do you have a pocket knife I could use to carve my name into a tree? Preferably one you don’t care about if it gets ruined?” I ask Blake, who had just spent most of the day cleaning out his ‘man cave.’
It’s a stupid question, really. Because second to having an unexplainable multi-flashlight collection, Blake has a pocket knife collection. He promptly gives me a crap knife, telling me not to hurt myself. “I probably will,” I say, fumbling to open it. And for the record, I have no idea how to close a pocket knife either. It’s no unusual thing for there to be open pocket knives sitting around (and not in Natalie’s reach) in our house; After I use them for some silly craft project, I set them out for Blake to close when he gets home from work.
“Which tree are you going to carve?” he asks, and I point to our apple tree. I’ve been considering which tree to carve my name into ever since I put #41 on my list. I love LOVE love trees, and was a tad bummed there was no tree I had a secure attachment to as of yet. The apple tree will do. We’ve had two seasons so far where it’s produced hundreds of apples to which I made hundreds of applesauces and apple butters passed out to friends and family at Christmas. So, at least me and Apple Tree have a history now.
I start carving, careful to keep my fingers, hands and other loose body parts as far away from the knife as possible. Carving this tree is much easier than I anticipated. I imagined hacking away at it until blisters formed, possibly drawing blood. Not the case. Had I been really dedicated to this project, I probably could have gotten away with cursive. How bad ass would that have been? Who does cursive when defacing mother nature?
As I cut into the tree, I considered what it meant to do this. Trees symbolize strength, rooted deep into the ground, producing many benefits for us, and living for hundreds of years. Wait- what? I’m not that sentimental to think I’m now one with this tree that bears my name.
But I finish and step back to admire my work, almost completely tucking away the tinges of guilt. I mean, who else remembers Ferngully and Avatar? The child in me hopes I didn’t hurt Ms. Apple Tree here in my yard and I make a silent promise to continue caring for her for as long as I am living here.
Looking at my name, I realize my existence here on this Earth is now recorded- for as long as this tree is standing.