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In my aggrieved state, I turn to look at the thin canopy of trees outside the university perimeter. Hesse. Yes, I’m calling for his name knowing full well that he won’t hear me. Who cares?

We share a love for trees. Before falling for this (via Michelle Lara Lin’s The Stranger blog), I had never fully expressed my strange affinity for trees. Perhaps, this is why we, “people of the present”, need to read the works and biography of the “people of the past” more often. Reading their stuff poses the potential for unleashing our unnamed desires, in my case, a regular view of the trees.

I love the way they looked from my standpoint. Feet planted in the soil of which beneath its roots are splayed. When I crane my neck to examine the span of branches and leaves, it makes me wish of impossible things. I remember the vampire Cullens’ scenes (yep, the Twilight series) that involved climbing or leaping from branches to branches, trees to trees. Yes, I fell for that moment. 

I’m a petite who loves high places. Now, I could see myself again on the hanging bridge of Singapore’s MacRitchie Reservoir Park. I could smell that fresh perfect scent among the canopy of trees. I could sense that sharp adrenaline out of being somewhere dangerously beautiful — amplified by the swinging of the hanging bridge. The metal parts of the bridge would rub against each other, singing a song that entices me to take one more step and another.

Hesse, if you were with me on that bridge, I bet you would weep. I bet you’d struggle to hold your balance as the immense stretch of tree canopies assault your eyes. Every space at the bottom of the bridge is occupied by these canopies. The spaces in between will look out of place as is for every abyss. Perhaps, your knees will weaken as the shudder of the metal vessel disrupts your quiet reverie. … But you weren’t with me.  

And I am no longer on that hanging bridge.

**

Hermann Hesse is the author of Poems.

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