The Narra Tree

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade July 2001

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"Leave me here", I said. "I'm just going to sit down for awhile". That was half an hour ago. So here I am. Sitting. Waiting.

There's something about the smell of the air on a hot day. As the sun beats down on the grass, the earthy stench wafts up towards me, in waves. If I stick my tongue out right now, I know I'll be able to taste it, to lick it up like ice cream as it coats my tiny taste buds. It is a blinding smell that I can feel in my eyes. It rings in my ears. I want to cover them "“ my ears, my eyes, my nose, my mouth. I want to cover my entire face with my arms. It is the air. It's touching me.

Even under the shade of the Narra, I have to shield my eyes from the sunlight reflecting off of the grass.

In every unruly blade, I can see the rays. I turn away from the sun (I turn to the rooted giant behind me). Its trunk is enormous. I look up and feel dwarfed by its imposing stature. Its silence daunts me"¦it stands there, like a wall of hard, dead rock, and says nothing. And then suddenly, I notice a single ray of sunlight burning a hole through the thick constellation of leaves that give me shade. A bird is perched atop one of the tree's branches, preening its feathers. I see bugs, crawling, swarming in and out of the cracks in the tough, black-brown bark. The hundreds of dark orifices that mark its surface are like open mouths, jaggedly twisted into expressions of horror, of happiness and of surprise. They smile at me mockingly, and I have to smile back. It is not so daunting anymore.

I look down. Dead leaves are strewn at my feet. Some look like they've been there for years; others have just recently taken leave of the branches. The stone bench beneath me does not want me there. My bones are poking through the fullness of my behind; any position I sit in is uncomfortable. I try not to make a sound as I take one leg and cross it over the other. But the leaves know, and they crackle and crunch in dry protest. I am restless and frustrated, as are the leaves.

It's been more than an hour. I'm still here. Sitting. Waiting.