Saturday, March 19, 2011

Crystal tree

We dug for three or four hours. Trying to pry something out. Four doors down the old farmhouse has now been laid flat, a new box of glue goes up where the lumber and shingle was disintegrating before.

For a weekend us neigbours ran all over it like rats. Lots of us stepping through the asbestos removal to scavange some plants or save the piano. It was maybe the oldest house, I didn't look that up. In its way it was the capital structure to our grouping in the most beautiful neighbourhood in the world.

I categorize it as the house where the crystal hung in the sweet dwarfish Vancouver maple tree overhanging the sidewalk.

It was to the crystal tree that my thoroughly independent children were released to from the youngest ages. We live one hundred and fifty feet west and beyond lies the 'high street' the mosh of dollar stores and vegetable stands, old scrungy Fraser street I love, dappled in pigeon poop outside Safi's Quickcuts. I like our house because even a toddler can toddle to the high street. When I had two I would muster them up and let my strong, giraffe legged girl head off first. (yes I know terrible parenting, that's another post I suppose). "Girl Friday. Don't go past the crystal tree"

That was the limit. She wandered there probably as young as a year an a half. A scramble with a hint of sightline and the right measure of earshot. It goes to the dreams I have for them to dwell in the healthy risks. It was so pretty there it would hold her; a small pinky crystal swaying in a tree in the rain, bright sunshine, what have you. My heart cinches in my chest when I recall the day it went missing. Someone we thought had ripped it down. My 3 year old ran to her jewel box for a replacement without a thought. No sense of value to anything yours, mine, ours... she chose probably the best pendant specimen she had to put out on the street. We scrawled a note.

Dear Neighbours
Thank you for hanging the crystal in your tree. It is very pretty and we love it. We see that someone took it down so please have this crystal instead.
Love E.

We walked to the grocery and dropped it off. ON the way back it was dangling on thin measure of fishing line as we passed our hearts full.. not knowing they could be more. Up our front steps there in a heap something woody, brown.. and a note to us.

Dear E.
Thank you for the crystal for the tree. We have hung it up. Here is something for you. Please enjoy this doll furniture it was our little girl's but she is big now and does not need it anymore.
All our love. Neighbours, C, A and J.

We broke two ropes and a chain trying to pull the crystal tree out with the truck. The builders shaking their heads as we dug a tree with roots to deep to make it moveable. They would scoop and flatten the place by Tuesday but did not interfere with our efforts. A last ditch I needed to try and exchange from one patch down to another. The children remember only a little of then having filled their lives with so much in the 3 and 4 years. But they took these pictures for me. It remains for us as parents today .... how they will construct memory when so much is transcribed?

I have let it go by now. Just one small twig sapling to nurture this springtime to remember those things that were, as a child might say, "big as a house".