This is a story about a tree. Specifically, this tree:
This is the story of the I’m Right Tree.
The tale begins when I was six years old. While walking somewhere with my mom, I remember that it was home from school but it might have been near my grandparents’ house, I came across a stick laying on the sidewalk. I studied it for a moment, picked it up and took it with me.
“What are you doing with that stick?” my mom asked.
“I’m going to plant it in the back yard,” I said, as if that was the most common and sensible use of a stick. “And it’s going to grow into a tree.”
My mom, naturally, attempted to explain to me that this wasn’t how trees work. You don’t just jam a dead stick off the sidewalk into the ground and a tree appears. But I was, if you can believe it, extremely stubborn about it. So my mom conceded and told me that, fine, I can plant the stick, it’ll be a tree, whatever.
I’m now 28. This is now the stick:
You see, I wasn’t making this up. This wasn’t some pretend game. I was a big fan of PBS back in the day, when it filled the role of the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, Food Network, HGTV, NatGeo and BBC America. It just so happens that the previous day I watched a gardening show, and that show explained how to root trees from cuttings. And I recognized the fig leaf from one of the trees that worked with.
For years (by which I mean I still do now and will forever) whenever my mom doubts some esoteric piece of knowledge I insist I know I refer to this tree, which is how it became dubbed the I’m Right Tree. Not even I can figure out how my mom didn’t strangle me to death at some point. But still, I was totally right and this tree proves it.
I bring this up because my parents are finally selling the house, which means they’re also selling the land and the tree, which means today was quite possibly the last time I’ll ever see the I’m Right Tree in person. But that’s okay, because I visited the I’m Right Tree one last time for a reason.
Turns out you can plant cuttings from a fig tree and they grow into even more trees. And you can easily cut, for instance, 17 branches off a fig tree without affecting it visually whatsoever. And when they root you can plant them in, say, your mom’s new back yard when she’s not home.
But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
For now I’d like to conclude with three things that came to mind when I was cutting and planting the future I’m Right National Forest:
1) I can probably learn something from my younger self. I tend to not listen to people about things but sometimes even a six-year-old with a squeaky irritating voice may have seen a show on PBS recently that applies perfectly to the situation.
2) It can be sad when things change, but if a stick grew into a tree once it can happen again.
3) People should really listen to me when I say things. I read a lot of varied and seemingly useless stuff and I retain most of it somehow. I’m way more knowledgeable about things than I appear. Just look at the tree!