A Chinese Banyan rooted in the small backyard
of Mom’s new house in Hilo. I assayed what
needed to be done around her yard that first year.
With certainty of youth, I heartlessly informed
her that the Chinese Banyan had to be cut down
and taken out, or it would take over everything.
I could have pointed out the massive Banyans
growing above flood control channels on the edge
of town. I could have mentioned the Banyan with
the circumference of a city block in old Lahaina.
I could have reminded her of the flourishing Banyans
planted by Mainland celebrities along Banyan Drive.
She was sad when I told her we had to cut down
the Chinese Banyan. With hope and certainty of
youth, I could have told her yes, it has to go, but we
will plant two trees in its place – trees appropriate
for your backyard. I didn’t, though. Now that action
seems utterly clear as a solution for a lover of trees.
With growing certainty, she realized that I would
be bringing disappointments and heartbreak like
this to her year after year. First, there’s this tree.
Go ahead, cut it down – but I don’t want to know
anything more about it. She may have said, Plan on
returning home to your father. It will be a bit early.
Andrew Shattuck McBride
April 23, 2012