When I awoke this
morning the temperature was in the mid-40s, which is nice for
walking, but the time was only 4:30. Even for me, thats
a little early, so I picked up a whodunit book to
get my mind in gear. Usually this works to wake me up, but today
just the opposite happened. After only a few pages I was sleepy
again, so back to bed I wentonly to discover that all
I could do was toss and turn. After about 30 or 40 minutes of
that, I finally got up for good.
At 10 minutes to
6, walking solo this week because my neighbor is out of town,
I headed off for the Plaza. I decided to walk along Grant Avenue
today, so I could visit The General. Thats
my name for a huge cottonwood tree along the sidewalk of Grant
Avenue, which, of course, is named for Civil War Gen. Ulysses
Im not sure,
but I think The General may be the largest cottonwood along
any street in Santa Fe. Whenever Im in its vicinity I
always snap to attention and walk a little straighter. As usual,
my visit this morning was a respectful one. Standing under The
Generals leafy magnificence, which later in the day would
dispense a wide, cool shade for everyone to enjoy, I contemplated
all the generations of people that this proud old tree had seen
come and go.
After a final salute,
so to speak, I left The General and pushed on. There was another
tree I wanted to visit.
Earlier this summer
I had noticed a small tree with tiny branches, trying its utmost
to create shade for passers-by. It had been planted outside
a building across the street from the Loretto Chapel. Even the
bark on The General was thicker than the full diameter of this
little treebut after all, The General had quite a head
start. I figured Id just say hello to the little fellow
on my way home.
Twenty minutes later
I was at the Loretto Chapel. But where the little tree had been,
nothing remained but a knurled stick. A stick that looked like
it had been twisted by some mighty force that wanted to express
its wrath. The little tree had never gotten the chance to live
Now, I'm usually
not sentimental, but I had assumed that the little tree was
going to be around for a long time, and maybe someday replace
The General as Santa Fes grandest shade-giver. But it
was not to be.
This was kind of
a sad note, and I needed something to lift my spirits. Suddenly
I saw a penny lying in the street. Whenever I run across such
pennies, I stop and pick them upnot for the monetary value,
but because theyre supposed to bring good luck. But before
I could make my move, I noticed two women walking toward me.
And instead of picking up the penny, I just continued walking
along. Maybe it was because I didnt want the women to
think I was so broke that needed the penny. Maybe it was because
the fate of the little tree seemed like too much bad luck for
one penny to overcome, and I didnt want to lose my belief
in a pennys power. Whatever the reason, I left the penny
where it lay.
But maybe I just
didnt have enough faith. Maybe tomorrow I'll go back and
get that penny, make a wishand the next time I see the
little tree, it will be back on the job, valiantly offering
shade to grateful people passing by, getting ready for the day
when it takes over for The General.
Have a great day.