Friday, June 26, 2015

Watch out for the tree!

Way back, in the social studies class in the old country, the textbook had a photograph of a car driving through a huge tree in California.  I bet I am not the only one from my class, from my school, who thought it would be cool to look at the tree in real life.

There are plenty of things we read about, hear about, that pique our curiosity.  But, not always are we able to follow-up on everything.  It is perhaps a good thing that we forget--else, our lives will be filled with disappointment after disappointment.

I never forgot about this tree.  When I came to California decades ago, I learnt that the drive through tree was in Yosemite, but that the tree fell years ago.  But that there were private ones.

Years went by.  I left California.

You see, many things in life require us to make them happen.  Rarely do they automatically happen. This time, on the way back from California, I knew was going to make it to to a drive-through tree.  I knew it because I was going to take the coastal route.

Sure enough, there were signs.  I exited.

"Is it a busy day?" I asked the woman at the counter as I handed her five dollars for the entrance fee.

A busy day it was.

The drive through the tree itself is what America is about.  An entrepreneurial mind cooks up an idea and then sells it.  We suckers fall for it, and give those creative minds our wallets.  "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door" they say; we surely do drive the path to that doorway hollowed out in a tree.

And then there it was.

Soon that excitement was over, and I continued on.

I drove through the Avenue of the Giants.  I could begin to understand why Rockefeller donated the money to save the trees after his visit a century ago.  I stopped every few minutes to take it all in.

When I was parked at one place, I thought my vehicle deserved a thanks as well, inanimate it might be.  A 140-horse chariot that did not exist when I was a kid who read about the drive-through tree in a faraway place called California.

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