Info

by Christopher Mudiappahpillai

For as far as I can remember, I’ve always lived around trees. They weren’t always on our property, but they were still around. It’s only recently, however, that I realised how uncomfortable I feel when they’re not.

In Sri Lanka, our neighbour had a large (I’m tempted to say ‘banyan’, but I’m not sure) tree near the front of their yard. And one of the earliest memories I have is of sitting on the sill of a window in our living room and daydreaming while watching the wind move through its branches.1

After arriving in Canada, my mother did her best to remind me of as much of Sri Lanka as she could by connecting things I saw here with what I might have seen there. As a result, the first tree I really noticed in Toronto was a giant weeping willow near my aunt’s house – because it “looks like a banyan tree.”

And of course, this country being what she is, you can’t get far without running into, tripping over, or eating some part of a maple. Not that that’s a bad thing.2

But over the last few weeks I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in various parts of suburbia – places that are shockingly devoid of trees. Well, no, that’s not true – there are lots of trees. Young, skinny trees that never rise higher than the roofs of the houses they’re supposed to grace.3

At our place, on the other hand, we have two trees: a mulberry in the back yard, at about forty-five feet; and an elm (yes, really) in the front that’s easily over eighty feet tall. We had a third, smaller elm in the front yard as well, but it died earlier this year.

There is, I must admit, a bit of a downside to having trees (and large ones at that) on your property – you have to trim and prune them. And that costs time and money. Thankfully, we’ll be leaving the elm to professionals. But I’ll be spending the better part of the day, I suspect, taking care of the mulberry.

  • 1I was around three, I think, so I didn’t actually know that I was ‘daydreaming’; I just remember being somewhere else. I only knew it for what it was after I overheard my mother describing what I had been doing to a friend.
    I think from around then, it’s been established (as far as the family goes, anyway) that I’m a dreamer. Oh well.
  • 2The Maple Leaf. There’s actually quite a bit more to it than one would think.
    I recently learned that the red in fallen maple leaves is actually, in part at least, a defence mechanism – it’s poisonous to seeds from any other kind of tree.
    So consider that a lesson learned about Canadians – we might be quiet and pretty on the outside, but there’s quite a bit of edge to us too.
  • 3Yes, Yes, I know – “Just give them time.” Even trees can’t fix the real problem of the ‘burbs though.

This is one of the first nursery rhymes I learned. So I guess it’s quite appropriate.

Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush

Here we go ’round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go ’round the mulberry bush,
So early in the morning.

These are the chores we’ll do this week,
Do this week,
Do this week.
These are the chores we’ll do this week,
So early every morning.

This is the way we wash our clothes,
Wash our clothes,
Wash our clothes.
This is the way we wash our clothes,
So early Monday morning.

This is the way we iron our clothes,
Iron our clothes,
Iron our clothes.
This is the way we iron our clothes,
So early Tuesday morning.

This is the way we scrub the floor,
Scrub the floor,
Scrub the floor.
This is the way we scrub the floor,
So early Wednesday morning.

This is the way we mend our clothes,
Mend our clothes,
Mend our clothes.
This is the way we mend our clothes,
So early Thursday morning.

This is the way we sweep the floor,
Sweep the floor,
Sweep the floor.
This is the way we sweep the floor,
So early Friday morning.

This is the way we bake our bread,
Bake our bread,
Bake our bread.
This is the way we bake our bread,
So early Saturday morning.

This is the way we get dressed up,
Get dressed up,
Get dressed up.
This is the way we get dressed up,
So early Sunday morning.

Here we go ’round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go ’round the mulberry bush,
So early in the morning.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. Olivia & Aaron's Mommy! #
    August 29, 2006

    Such is life in Toronto – now Kingston is a whole different story…
    We got rid of three trees on our property – because there was no sun coming through – and we still have lots of trees and shade and leaves…oh the leaves!!

  2. August 29, 2006

    Oh no, don’t get me wrong. Toronto’s fine for the most part. And even certain parts of Mississauga and the other surrounding cities.

    It’s just the newer, cookie-cutter developments that give me the creeps.

Comments are closed.