The little Norfolk pine tree

We have a Norfolk pine tree in a pot on the lanai. I bought it when it was tiny, in the supermarket, when my daughter was just born.

I had been inspired by the green movement to try a living Christmas tree. I brought it in the house for a few years as a second tree, because it grew tall enough for us to decorate, but it was still rather tiny. We gave up on it a few years ago because it’s scraggly by nature, with a lot of space between the branches.

Now the tree is about 11 years old, it’s leaning to one side, and the branches are irregular. I probably should embrace it as a survivor who lives despite routine neglect, rather than wishing it were more picturesque.

I’m toying with discarding it and planting something else in there. I’ve been indecisive for a few months, because the tree is a bit sentimental to me.

Sometimes, over the years, I have propped my feet up on the tree’s pot and relaxed on the porch. When things are annoying or frustrating, I escape to the lanai, sit there, listen to the birds, breathe the fresh air, and unwind. The tree is my friend. It’s always there with silent support.

On the other hand, I feel ready to have a change. Today, I asked Olivia to help me remove the tree and figure out what to plant next. She is not attached in the least to the tree.

“That tree reminds me of that fairy tale, The Little Fir Tree,” she said, referring to the classic Hans Christian Anderson fable. Then she launched into a recounting of the story that went on and on with a never ending series of “and then…”, making me feel worse and worse.

Basically, the story is told from the sweet tree’s perspective of how it lived in the woods and wanted nothing more than to serve as a family’s Christmas tree. After it was cut down, it knew it was going to die, but was pleased because it felt there is no greater joy than to bring smiles to the children’s faces.

After Christmas, the family left the tree to wither in the basement with the rats. It wistfully remembered its life in the forest. Eventually, people took it outside, where it was thrilled to think it would live again. Sadly, humans burned it with the other trash, and it went out in the crackle of flames. The end. (HC Anderson wasn’t known for his happy endings.)

Olivia said all this to me just because, not because she was trying to guilt me into keeping it. But that’s what ended up happening.

Our nice little Norfolk pine that had some stints in the family Christmas, but mostly lived outside and carried on a one-sided conversation with me. And now I want to kill it.

“OK, ready to work on that, Mom?” my child chirped happily after her tale ended.

“No. Let’s leave it out there a little longer,” I said. And then I – sappy me – went out and groomed the tree, watered it, and tried to appreciate it for whatever it’s given to us.

Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. One day, she might figure out how to put that master’s degree to use.

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