Saturday, April 23, 2005

the avac@do tree

... all my friends know the low-rider. the low-rider is a little higher.

when i was a boy we lived in east LA. alhambra to be exact. in a small house off garfield blvd at twenty-five palmetto drive. that was my kingdom. that was where all the magic in my life was. the home of tiny, benji, mr. tree, tony & alfred, doc, and of course the old avacado tree.

the back yard was simple but grand. it was longer than most and filled with adventure and good friends. it was my narnia and turkish delight came wrapped in flour tortillas with guacamole and cheese. my childhood was grown and nurtured in the long grass behind the garage along with my senses of wonder and imagination.

the house was not the oldest on the block, but it did have a history that began with the vast orange orchards of the san gabriel valley. when i was little i would peak my head over the wall at the back of the property and look across the parking lot to an apartment building and out to the sunken railroad tracks. my grandpa would tell me that when the house was built there was a bright sea of orange trees all the way to the mountains. every time i looked over i would imagine that sea of glimmering orange unfolding before my little eyes and the smell of the ripe fruit would fill my nose for just a moment. the last vestiges of those days were the many fruit trees we had in the yard. oranges, apricots, black walnuts, plums and apricots, but my very mostest favorite was the tall majestic avocado tree that towered just outside the back door of the house.

the avocado tree was like a friendly ancestor that looked over me while i played in the grass and called out to me on windy nights to let me know that everything was OK in the valley. underneath it sat an old riding lawnmower that never really worked. i would sit on it in the mid day sun and pretend to ride fast across the plains on my dusty red pony with the great tree running alongside to fend off the hoards angry cowboys that meant to harm me. we always beat them to the safety of the sea and not once did he ever drop a fruit. he was a good friend that fed me in the summer and let me climb into his wispy heart to swing on his branches just to make me smile at a time when smiles were the most important thing in the world.

as the years went on i learned to count to one hundred for my first time in that back yard, i buried my first friends, and learned the lessons of a young man in a changing city. the tree was always there and always bent slightly when i came to visit. never without a ripe fruit just for me.

now that i am older and the days of innocent play in my wonderland all but are gone. i now look forward to someday having children of my own. i want to thank the yard and all the wonderful trees, spiders, and pill bugs that lived there and helped me become the man i am now. i especially want to thank the old avacado tree for all the times he saved me from the evil cowboys and kept me healthy and safe under the hot los angeles sun.

listening too )))

Lila Downs and Mariachi Juvenil de Tecalitlán - La Llorona
War - Low Rider