Sure the fruit was ugly by grocery store standards, but what it lacked in looks, it made up for in flavor. Besides being organic and free of charge, the apples on this seventy-year-old tree had hints of banana flavor, a crisp, firm texture, and a skin that was more crunchy than waxy: something most commercial apples can’t claim.
The tree hung over the sidewalk; its constellation of apples changing by the day. Each morning as I stopped to harvest a few for my lunch, I was excited to have something so tasty and so perfect at my disposal. That is, until the day I walked by and thought I’d missed the tree. I passed the yard where I remembered it twice before I realized that I was at the right house, but the tree was gone. In fact, all of the trees near the house were gone.
I seethed with anger all the way to work. The tree was much older than the house. It was part of the community. It was one of the subdivision’s ties to the land’s past. Then it was firewood.
But who’s tree was it? I reasoned that the people in the house owned it by law, but how can you own a piece of the community? It was everyone’s tree. Everyone who was cheered by the blossoms in the spring: Everyone who walked under its shady bower in the summer: Everyone who savored its unique flavor in the fall.
And now it’s no one’s tree.