Oct. 16, 2009 Tischman Auditorium, New York CityFrom the Academy Audio Archive
How to Uproot a Tree
Stupidity helps. Naiveté that your hands will undo what does perfectly without you. My husband and I made the decision not to stop until the task was done, the small anemic tree made room for something prettier. We’d pulled before, pale hand over wide hand, a marriage of pulling toward us what we wanted, pushing away what we did not. We had a shovel which was mostly for show. It was mostly our fingers tunneling the dirt toward a tangle of false beginnings. The roots were branched and bearded, some had spurs and one of them was wholly reptilian. They had been where we had not and held a knit gravity that was not in their will to let go. We bent the trunk to the ground and sat on it, twisted from all angles. How like ropes it was, the sickly thing asserting its will only now at the end, blind but beyond the idea of leaving the earth.