Look up, and you shall see a tree. A tree much like you. You walk away from your third exam of the week; you see a tree as exhausted as yourself, with its long torso slouched against the grass, leafy fingers outstretched, toward the frequented pathway outside McMurtry and students passing by. You fall off your skateboard on your way to class; you see a tree bark--scraped yet tough. You feel a great explosion of enthusiasm and validation; you see a tree: proud-faced, arms thrown up in a Y, ecstatic and free of worries. You want a break from your hectic schedule; you see a tree, in the middle of everything, but serene, a head of broccoli, under which you are tempted to sit down and slumber away into oblivion.
At night, I walk under their gnarly fingers, a tunnel made for me. It is nine p.m., you look up and see a roof of curly bones; you look down and see images cracked into the ground. Shadows leap from the lights cast from the lampposts—a growing claw besides me, dragging zombies up ahead, a bestial blob in front. A host of frightening yet curious figures. A strange feeling settles in me; and I slow down and observe. A knot, a branch, a cluster of diamond-shaped leaves. Up, up, up, up. It is a climb, one that brings you beyond the shadows and the fears and the narrow-mindedness. A wide, pitch-black void, night. What we find there is that precious thing that Plato calls Truth.
There are as many trees as there are students. Or at least, that’s what I think as I walk around Rice campus. All of the trees in Houston congregate here, offering us oxygen for our carbon dioxide. Mutualistic exchange, or something more. While some of them may seem odd or intimidating, they each have as much character as us, a permanent resident and companion. So--
Look up, and you shall see a friend.
Written by Kristie L.