We Need Trees
I met Mohammad on Warm Showers and hosted him for a couple of nights in Barcelona, during which time we talked about travelling, bikes, serendipity, and crazy dreams. He also came to the school where I work – ES International School near Barcelona where a group of highly motivated student-athletes spend their days studying and pursuing their own dreams of becoming great athletes, tennis players and bike racers.
It was a beautiful Friday – the day when we usually have our house meetings at school. Mohammad and I carried a small olive tree on the metro and lost a few olives on the bus while the sun was rising over the motorway.
One thing I love about hosting travelling cyclists is the stories that they have to tell. Welcoming someone who has chosen a life of moving, gives us a sense of movement too and breathes life into our routine. We spent the morning at school looking at his travel pictures and asking him questions. The students had dozens of questions about him and about the places that he had visited and the things he had seen (and eaten!) We also talked a lot about trees. Trees are something that everyone connects to. Everyone has a memory of climbing a tree, sitting under a tree, walking through a forest or picking fruit from a tree.
Planting a tree is a simple but powerful act. Plating something is putting something back, something that future generations will enjoy and, most importantly, something that will grow. It is not only an ecological statement but a statement about humanity and caring for others and the future of others.
Planting a small olive tree on our campus was our contribution and, together with Mohammad, we all took handfuls of earth and threw it on so that we were all invested in that little tree. The tree is right at the entrance to the school. So when we walk past it, we see it and every year, just as our students grow (inside and out) so the tree will grow, and it will always remind us of that special day when the crazy cyclist from Iran came and showed us that the world was full of extraordinary possibilities and unimaginable kindnesses, the things that the news sometimes forgets to tell us.
And next time we have something to celebrate – a birthday, a wedding, a graduation, an anniversary – perhaps instead of buying an expensive gift – we will plant a tree. Which is not only a gift to the person we are honouring, but at the same time, a gift to everyone.
This text is written by Harriet..thanks a lot Harriet for all your help and cooperation.
9 May 2013