Is It Real? Or …

Peter was here last weekend, and we went to the zoo. Friday was a great day. Overcast, not too hot, not many people, (school has started). When we were looking at the bison, I could see, just beyond the zoo’s perimeter, the traffic light and sign from an intersection at one of the park’s exits. I picked Peter up so he could see it and said, “We’ll leave the zoo from that park exit. When we go through the light, you’ll know that the bison are right on the other side.” He seemed unimpressed.

But, when we did go through that light, and I pointed out the back of the bison exhibit and said, “That’s where the bison are walking around, right now,” he said, “Awwwww.”

As we passed through the next light, leaving the park, he said, “I saw an arrow with a red circle and a line.” So, for several blocks, I explained about two-way streets and one-way streets, and how people leaving the park might not realize that the cross street was a one-way street. And how a left-turn choice might lead to a crash. Fortuitously, the street leaving the park is a broad, two-way street that splits after a mile or so into one-way streets. Nice segue.

Peter asks a lot of questions and gets lots of explanations. At this rate, he’ll probably be able to pass the written portion of the Driver’s test next year, when he turns four.

As we approached a light, several blocks on, he said, “Is that a fake tree or a real tree?”

“Where? What tree?” He pointed. Behind us. I looked all around and didn’t see what he meant, and the light changed and we had to move on. I turned and went around a couple of blocks, back to where we were. I drove as slowly as I could, hoping not to annoy the drivers around us, and tried to see what he meant.

“That tree?” “No.” “There. That one?” “No.” Then,

“That tree, Mimi.” I saw which one he meant and agreed. No wonder he thought it might be a fake tree.

img_1787I tried to explain what I thought might have happened to the tree. For some reason, they seem to have cut off the entire top of it, removing all the branches so that it was, basically, a tall stump. Maybe the branches had gotten so large and spread so wide that they trimmed it all the way back to the trunk, so it wouldn’t be in the way of traffic on the street or people walking by on the sidewalk. Maybe they thought the tree was dead. But, the tree began to put out branches and leaves again. And the way those new branches and leaves grew did make it look like a fake tree. Like a Dr. Seuss-type pompom-topped tree. Maybe they did it on purpose. It’s certainly interesting. But I’m not sure it’ll catch on.

I’ll have to start driving up that street more often, and see if the new tree-pruning technique gains popularity with other neighbors.


God told Jeremiah, “Up on your feet! Go to the potter’s house. When you get there, I’ll tell you what I have to say.”

So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot.

Then God’s Message came to me: “Can’t I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?” God’s Decree! “Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 (The Message)

I don’t know how this tree happened to have been pruned so severely. But somebody must have thought it was the appropriate choice. Then the tree, with its internal God-given guidance, started growing, the best it knows how. The real thing. Unusual. But real.

Meanwhile, some zoo photos.


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