The spaciousness of my old back yard is still vivid in my mind’s eye. If I close my eyes, I can easily see the dull, rust encrusted brick wall that separated my property from the neighbors’. As I turn my head to the left, I can gaze into the sparkling pool that was so arduous to maintain. However, the object of my attention is the grapefruit tree, plainly visible in the middle of the overgrown greenery of my backyard. It was under this tree where many of my most special childhood recollections took place.
The first of these memories that comes to mind is that of which I am most fond of. I can recall the texture of the soft ground under the tree as I sat next to a quiet girl named Nicole. Her dark brown eyes were deep and soulful as she impulsively leaned over to give me my first kiss. The moment seemed so natural, and yet so awkward, that I find it difficult to express how I truly felt. I may have even had an eccentric little fit for the rest of that day, unable to contain my own youthful excitement. However, I know that I did not regret a second of it.
Ironically, this same tree was a sight of true terror a few months later. When I lie down upon the warm tile of my old roof on a pleasant autumn day, I distinctly recall the shock of seeing my beloved grapefruit tree being engulfed by a swarm of Africanized bees. These vicious insects had settled down near the pool machinery, forming a nest under the drooping branches of the tree. Luckily, my dad was able to call the exterminators before the swarm of little monsters had a chance to overrun the entire yard. I stared in awe as men in white protective suits slew the creatures with heavy machinery; as if our backyard had transformed into a scene from a sci-fi film.
Over the course of the next few years, I adopted the now weathered grapefruit tree as a citadel of deep meditation. I often found myself scaling its branches, hoping that the dilapidated tree would lend me its view of the surrounding neighborhood. In perfect isolation, I had the privilege of witnessing Northern Avenue become increasingly congested with every new family to move to Phoenix. Sadly, as the years flew by, I felt that the Earth was shrinking from a magical world of adventure into a simpler, less wondrous place. Such thoughts are the curse of maturity, I suppose.
To whoever lives in my former home now, I am sure that old grapefruit tree is just an ordinary shrub. However, if I close my eyes, my persistent memories quickly transform that lonely little grapefruit tree into a place of love, adventure, and wisdom. Hopefully, this obscure plant in the center of a suburban backyard will continue to form new memories for those who respect it.