I spend a lot of time observing. Wether it is in my classes or out on the quad, or in a library I am constantly watching. At times it is a good thing- I generally notice dangers far sooner than my companions (always watching, knowing that there are 14 other subway riders and what their focus seems to be on may have come in handy) but really I just see what you see and analyze it differently. So while you spend as much time looking out the window at the trees being carefully trimmed, I see something so much more involved.
There is a man, dressed in a reflective vest and large well covering hat trimming the taller branches of the trees that line a road in full view from my third story perch. The trees are there for beauty, meticulously planted in a row so as to be aesthetically pleasing, which they are of course. Even in Florida the leaves are beginning to turn from chlorophyl dyed green to their more resigned yellows and browns.
But why must they be trimmed? Tress have a short list of what they do, at least when viewed from the perspective of the fleeting life of my humanity. They grow, and continue to grow upwards towards the clouds they so wish to mingle with(or I would like to imagine). Their latitude only branches out marginally compared to their rocketing height. Yet here this man is, trimming the few spindly limbs that have grown so courageously past their counterparts. In a quick snip, all their energy exerted for the betterment of their collective unit is dashed. No more branches allowed for leaves, no more leaves for increased photosynthesis.
But this casual observation about needless horticulture isn’t my primary focus. It is the man doing the trimming. This is Florida, and he is landscaping wearing the trappings of an immigrant. I could be wrong, but this is a stereotype I think may exist for a reason- there are a lot of horrendously underpaid usually illegal immigrants who landscape all around Tampa at least.
So here he is, a man that at any given time could lose his lot in life, thanks to a DEA agent, an uncaring boss, or a plethora of other horribly unscrupulous reasons. He is controlled with no input into his life. He has few if any options in life, few ways to earn a meager living, no security in homestead or job. And still he continues his work under the temperamental sun, controlling the adolescent tree himself. The irony was not lost on me. This man, entirely controlled by forces he could not hope to manipulate is controlling a tree which shares his same fate. Control by the controlled.
I wish for both of their freedoms. For the man to find stability, or whatever he may want in life(I cannot assume he wants the stability my mind would think he desires) so that he may prosper and achieve. I wish for the tree to be able to expand beyond his trimmed facade and grow as best it sees fit. Overall I want both parties to be given the freedom they so instinctively yearn for.
In the meantime, they will both struggle. The tree will grow its branches toward the life giving star closest to it, and the landscaper will tear down the trees literally lofty pursuits. I can only hope one day they burst through their confines and reach ever higher physical and emotional heights.