Maybe it’s because it’s Sunday and I’m feeling “churchy”. Maybe it’s because I’ve thought too much about it. Or maybe I’m just being cheesy, but this busted tree got me thinking.
We’ve got two of these big trees in our front yard. Identical. They were planted (by someone else) at the same time and for the past ten years or so, they have grown together. They looked the exact same until the other night when a storm came through and decided to rip half of our tree on the right down. Kinda lame huh? Now after pretending to be a lumberjack I’ve got this little pile of wood and a half of a tree. The front is all exposed and all the leaves are on the back.
Now, I’ve had more than a couple people tell me what a bummer it is that the front of the tree is missing, rather than the back because that’s the part that everyone sees. That’s the side that we ‘represent’ our yard to the neighbors with. That’s what makes this tree look good. You see where I’m going with this don’t you?
Now, imagine if the back of this tree had been ripped off. It would look all symmetrical from the front. Matching the other tree and fitting in perfectly. No one would be able to tell there was any damage and we could all go on pretending that this tree hadn’t weathered a storm and continues to stand. The damage would still be there, it would still be half a tree, but at least the ‘public’ part would look good, right?
We love to pretend that our tree fronts are perfect don’t we? We love to show the public our full, leafy side. We don’t want anyone to know that we’ve been through it. Struck by lightning or pushed over by a storm. We don’t want people to see that we’re completely exposed if you just looked at us from a different angle. And you know what? Most people don’t want to even take the time to see that angle. They’d rather see the side of you that is symmetrical and ‘together’. Because then they don’t have to help.
It’s easier to drive through a perfect suburban neighborhood and see symmetry. See the fake. That’s what we show, and that’s what we are shown. Because it’s easier than accepting the fact that we’ve all had storms, and our front sides have been ripped off. And that sometimes all we are left with is a lame pile of firewood that we don’t even know what to do with because we have a gas fireplace that we never even turn on because it seems like a really stupid way to run up your gas bill.
What side of the tree are you showing the people around you?