You can guess for yourself the time of day each picture was taken by the way the shadows of branches and leaves cast themselves.
I remember planting these tamarind trees in our backyard in 2003. I got the seeds from my grandmother’s ancestral house in Maragondon, Cavite. (Until now, I don’t think I’ve tasted the sweet, pasty rind that I enjoyed more than a decade ago from the pods of these trees – they grow so high that our neighbors keep on pruning the branches themselves.)
I don’t know who said that to be fulfilled in life, one needs to do three things: to plant a tree, to write a book, and to raise a child. It doesn’t really matter if it came from the Talmud (which says marry a wife rather than raise a child) or if it is attributed to José Martí (or even Pablo Picasso). The proverb makes sense.
By the way, this is me meowing (didn’t know before this picture how I looked “conversing” with our two cats).
And this is me looking at one of them climbing our roof and gallivanting to our neighbor’s.
But back to the proverb. At first, I couldn’t figure out the logic or the connection between the three “tasks” in life (I’ve already planted three tamarind, or sampaloc trees, and one palm.) Sure, one can think that planting a tree and raising a child can be self-serving: for eating fruit and ensuring that there will be children to take care of you in your old age.
But every parent will tell you that not every child returns the favor, just as not every tree bears fruit that can be eaten. And what about writing a book? Is it for fame or for ensuring that you will not be forgotten?
Partyly true. I think the proverb is all about the future.
All three: trees, children, and books have “lives” that live beyond us.
That more can benefit from shade, fruit, and oxygen.
That more people can hear about the stories waiting to be told by our own children. That more can share our joy and learn from our mistakes.