The Umbrella Tree

I stood under an umbrella tree and looking up could see umbrellas hanging over me. They dangled from the branches precariously. They were thin but not too long, with pointed tips and straight handles and they knocked into each other like bangles. I stood back when a fierce wind began to blow making all the branches swing low. The umbrellas fell to the ground with a tinkling sound (as though glass were shattering in the cold and slowly). There weren’t many colours; mostly blues and reds. They all stood out from the grass anyway. I bent down and over to pull one up when I saw that a boy standing opposite had already done so. I realised that he’d snatched the one that I prized and on doing said so. “You’ve got the red, and it fills me with dread since I’m the one holding the blue.” It made me feel sad since I knew he hadn’t meant to be bad or unfeeling or untrue. But I didn’t want to be stuck holding the blue. He wanted to help me but instead shook his head as a greater power had stopped him. He couldn’t give me the red until I had let go the blue. But what could I do? The power to do it was not in me and I had no clue as to where it lay. So to this day I hold the blue wishing I knew what to do…

Nov 1991

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