Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Conversation Tree (English)

Guyanese live to talk.

The sun is blazing.

The cookup is burning on the stove.

Water is not flowing in the pipes.

And Guyanese are “gyaffing” away.

Prattling.

Conversing.

Chatting.

Speaking of chatting…you should see the Conversation Tree, poor thing.

It’s now short…diminutive…nothing like the giant tree so long ago. The windward side is shaved by the wind. The leaves grow on the western branches, away from the sea breeze.

Remember that asymmetric haircut in fashion some years ago, with the hair deeply cut away from one side of the head, and sprouting heavy on the other side?

That’s the Conversation Tree.

A diminutive man with an asymmetric haircut, struggling against the wind. I haven’t seen one red flambouyante flower on its branch in ages.

But folks still converse beside its little trunk.

Long ago it was a giant tree. Folks used to wait there for the bus or hire car. And they chatted. That’s how the tree got its name. That's how the road leading south from the tree got its name, Conversation Tree Road.

[I have no idea if this name is official.]

Then the giant flambouyante tree fell in a rough storm. Another tree sprang up, grew tall, but not as huge as the giant tree.

“This tree has gotten small, huh?” a university student next to me in a hire car commented to everyone in general.

I explained about the giant tree falling in the storm, and about the other one growing afterwards.

“Ohhhh,” said the girl, “I thought it was smaller because it shrank with old age.”

We laughed so hard the car shook.

Then the second tree fell too. And a third struggled up…this short, asymmetric fella fighting with the wind. And drunk drivers (male).

People (anonymous) tried to protect this little tree.

They built a white wooden picket fence around.

A drunk driver (male) knocked it down.

Then people (anonymous) built a white fence of thin metal strips around it.

A drunk driver (male) knocked it down.

Another barricade went up, wood and steel rods.

A drunk driver (male) knocked it down.

People (anonymous) gave up.

The barricade remained bent, tired, broken, like apathy itself.

Until...finally…more people to the rescue!

They constructed a super, modern, concrete wall around the tree, a low wall, shiny white, with bright, glowing Esso [or was it Shell?] ads.

Lovely!

Super!

"Foreign”!

A month after, a woman in the neighbourhood heard skuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrks crash bang late one night…or was it early morning? [Guyanese call the wee, dark morning hours “night”.]

A drunk driver (male) had crashed into the glowing, new wall with his Pajero or SUV or RAV 4.

So far, people (anonymous) and other foreign bodies have refrained from putting another barricade around the Tree.

Will a drunk driver (male) crash into the Tree itself one night?

Was it the glow of the white barricades that drew the drunk drivers (male), and made them crash?

Or is it the lady-ghost who haunts out there, luring men to danger?

[Y’know, I think we should make this Tree the official symbol of Guyana.]


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

dear Guyana Gyal,
that tree is special. i send prayers from the other side of the planet for the preservation of that famous conversation tree.
arborial wishes from
Kanga Roo

Guyana-Gyal said...

What's that poem about there being no poem lovelier than a tree?

Dat po' li'l eenie
Conversation Tree.
Just a teeny eenie line
From a short li'l rhyme.

Lyla B said...

is the jumbee gyal luring de fellas...when some aint drunk dem pronouned drunk cause dem see she..but gardy died there too...one morning we hear loud crash an 2 ladies mommy and aunty B, run out to see is wha an was we nice nice gardener..could be she hauling off all dem drunks too