A Tree Grows in the Highway

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(Note:  A little diversion.  I find that sometimes things just pop into my head and won’t leave.  I figure that’s a sign they need to be recorded.)

I’m driving back from the studio yesterday on the main highway that loops around our city and I see something in the distance, that, for just a fleeting moment, looked like a person waving.  As my car gets closer, I can see it is a tree growing in the middle of the highway.  I knew it wasn’t a person and I’d seen it before but then ideas just started flashing in my mind.  Why last night was different from other nights that I’ve driven by without a second thought is a mystery but it was.

I should mention that this is not a wide, grass covered median.  No, on this stretch of road, the lanes were separated by a concrete barrier.  But it has been under construction and they’ve widened the outside lanes and blocked off the middle.  This tree was right behind the temporary barrier.  Not a good visual but its the best I can do.

My first thought was this was a sign of how freaking long this road has been under construction.  I drive on it almost every single day out to the studio so maybe I’ve just gotten used to the state of disrepair but long enough for a tree to spring up??  Then, I thought it was just a sign that nature takes back what is hers.  Not really sure if nature has a gender but I’m too attached to the whole Mother Nature thing so we’ll go with it.  We build our lanes of concrete and asphalt and structures of glass and steel but they don’t belong and if we leave them alone, nature will reclaim what we took.  I smiled a bit at that.

I wondered about that tree.  Imagine being that tree and expecting to end up as part of a nice forest and instead you are in the middle of a highway surrounded by concrete with cars speeding by you all the time.  Can’t even imagine how bad the air is.  Of course, this tree doesn’t think about how rotten its circumstances are or how bad its life sucks because it is stuck in the middle of the highway.  No, it does the best it can trying to do what trees do.

I admire that tree for its survival skills but I also know that it will end badly.  At some point, the construction crews will return to the scene of the crime to finish up their work.  And, you certainly can’t leave a tree in the middle of the highway.  Somebody will just take it down without a second thought.  Will probably curse it for being there and causing them extra work instead of marveling at how hard nature fights to survive.  I feel sad that it will then likely end up in a chipper somewhere.  Really, it belongs in a forest.  It deserves a chance given what it has put up with.  I’d love to dig it up myself but I’m sure I couldn’t get it out in time before some cop showed up to see what I was doing.  No, one day, I will drive by and it won’t be there.  I may not even notice it at first but some day it will just be gone.

So I thought I’d write about it because I know the road project will eventually be finished and they’ll be no sign of it and I won’t even really be able to remember where it was.  I know it is really kind of a scraggly little tree and not much to look at but I still thought it was worth writing about.  Maybe it really did wave at me.  You never know…


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