In one of my first encounters with the Guilford Woods, I
Without any words, I feel a sense of recognition from the tree. Its branches almost extend down and envelop me with a loving embrace. My problems of not fitting in here seem insignificant. The tree feels me and I feel it. I sit down beside its trunk and think. Being Asian American at this campus is just like being a cedar tree in an area full of American beech trees. I begin to wonder if the tree feels lonely. Can trees feel lonely? My Native American Religion class would say yes. I sit and listen. I wonder what the tree looks like on the inside. How could it be dead and stand so tall and beautifully? I stand up and take a step back to see the whole tree. As I stare it is like I am looking in a mirror, seeing my own reflection looking back at me. I think maybe it died of loneliness here. Grappling with the idea of leaving the college, I wonder if the tree would have left if it could.
I never thought that I could or would ever have such an emotional connection to a tree. Then I found this tree. It spoke right to me. The longer I was in its presence the more I felt like we were connected. Somehow I think it understands me in a way that others can’t. I wonder if my other Asian American friends back home ever found something so grounding in their life. I know that other people feel the way that I do but just suffer in silence. Everyone faces loneliness. Even this tree.