“Why does the tree look like that? It doesn’t look nice. What’s the point of planting that big tree then? It doesn’t even make shade. Can it be called a tree when it is not even performing its function?”
Even though autumn had come, the sunshine was still stinging my skin. There was no place to hide from the sun. It was getting on my nerves. My skin turned red as if it was stung by a bee.
It had been two weeks since I moved into a new apartment in a new city. There were many parks and playgrounds around this area. Usually there were not many cars so air pollution was low and the area was not dangerous. The shopping complex was also clean and there were no harmful industrial facilities around.
However, there was one flaw. It was that there were no trees that provided shade. Everything in that area was new so I could only see small young trees that looked like they just got out of the stage of adolescence. However, one day, several big trees were planted around in front of the apartment.
My heart was filled with hope as I looked at the thick tree trunk and thought, "Ah, now I can escape the scorching sun."
“Heh? What the…?”
I felt disappointed. As I was scanning up the thick tree trunk, I saw that the branches were cut off abruptly. The top part had some branches and leaves left, but it made the entire tree look shabby and poor. One pine tree’s back was bent and there were no leaves on the branches that were stretched out, so it looked like an old person’s hand reaching out for help. When I looked around, every tree that was planted looked like that.
I complained because it was unedifying to me. My husband, without saying anything, was looking at me complaining, and then said just one sentence.
“To transplant a big tree, it has to be trimmed like that.”
I exclaimed and tapped my head.
“I heard that if a big tree is transplanted right away, it will die easily. If its branches are trimmed until it looks like a seedling when it is transplanted, it won’t die easily.”
I heard that for a tree that is an arm-span around, after transplanting, it takes about three years for it to blossom with flowers again.
I saw the schedule of transplanting a big tree in a book so I wanted to write a part of it.
(In May, 1994, cut the flower stalk and the roots/ In June, primary work of reducing branches of Wisteria/ In 1995, secondary work of reducing branches of Wisteria/ In January, 1996, change the soil of the place to transplant/ In February, transplant the Wisteria/ From February, 1996 to April, 1997, period of adapting and recovering for Wisteria/ In May, 1997, blossom flowers)
Especially when the tree was lifted, in order to not hurt it, its tree trunk was wrapped with plaster bandage. 654 rolls of bandage--which was 4.5 meters and 300 grams for each roll--was needed and this work required five people to work for four hours. It was very complicated work.
Entering the world of faith at an age that is not young is also as great a deal as transplanting a big tree. I thought of a deacon who just started believing in the Lord after 30 years of being a Buddhist. She said that she still felt awkward praying so she wrote down a prayer on a palm-sized piece of paper and was carrying it around, memorizing it like a spell. When she was talking about this, she looked like a young girl who felt shy, and that image of her was still vivid to my sight. She had never stopped working since she got married and thought on a very large scale, like a man, to the point where it shocked people. However, if she found some vocabulary that she did not know from the Bible, she even asked the young students. She did not feel ashamed for her lacking at all but kept studying and learning like a student.
Of course, moving to a new environment while putting down, chopping off, and cutting down what you have is definitely not easy at all. Probably many of her family members and friends said something to her about it.
“You should have just kept believing Buddha. Why are you doing this when it is too late to switch?”
“I heard if you go there, they stop you from doing many things. Then why are you going there?”
“Whatever you believe in, it just helps to live well. Then why do you need to switch?”
She must have had many temptations.
Moreover, she was even at the age where she had no regret about life.
She went through all kinds of good and bad in life already so she was old enough to seek only what’s comfortable to her.
It might be a very difficult and uneasy path for her but she was always happy and joyful.
Contrary to the circumstance, she said her heart had become so much lighter and the Lord was so awesome to the point where he took her heart away. Then she gave two thumbs up. Her faith and love were becoming deeper and clearly growing out.
No matter how much I looked at the trees in front of the apartment, they didn’t look nice.
They might fix their shape and grow its branches and leaves at least three years later.
However, they were the trees that all came with humble hearts because they were standing being thankful even though their image might be shabby, with their branches all cut off. One day, I was sure that they would be in a shape that covered the whole apartment with cool shade, with branches that stretched out to both the right and the left.
The deacon and the tree around the apartment…
Maybe these two trees would be remembered as the most beautiful trees in their new location?