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Christmas trees and pineapples

December 14, 2008

The white Christmas tree reaches out its coarse branches like the dead coral I saw off Mindanao.  The crown of thorns starfish had attached itself to the reef, sucking it dry: the coral around it was white as snow.  Nothing else on the reef is white, except for me, frog kicking my way through the tropical water jungle, taking in all I can before I go, giving nothing back but my carbon dioxide.  What is is like to be the predator of heaven?  Who can blame a starfish for what it’s evolved to do?

The white Christmas tree also lives in Mindanao, rather it was sent there by foreign manufacturers for Christmas, which was put there by the Spanish.  I saw the tree in one of the many western shopping malls on Mindanao, the tree’s whiteness representative of the snow the islanders have never seen.  Its branches curled like the fingers of an arian ice princess, its ornaments mirrors of consumerism.  Mindanao has its own trees, but they’re not for Christmas.

The air condition chilled me my last week on the island.  All I could think of was why I had to go home, even if home wouldn’t want me.  I was so tired of standing wide and pale, one of just a few pine trees scattered in the endless pineapple fields.  But now, far from the island and not yet home, I already long for something that is gone forever.  Pineapples are sweet, worth fighting through any prickles to get to the heart.  They were sweet enough to welcome a white pine tree like me.

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