Tenacity. The ability to grow where it was planted, and flourish despite all odds.
The lessons of a tree that grew in Brooklyn and inspired a best selling novel.
In 1943, a novel called A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith was published. It was the story of an impoverished 11 year old girl, Francene Nolan, who, during the course of the novel, endures many hardships. When the book ends, Francene is seventeen and is ready to embark on her adult life.
Like the tree in the yard of her apartment building, Francene survives all that life throws at her. The tree is destroyed again and again, but lives and resprouts.
I fell in love with that book when I read it as a young teen. And yes, as someone who grew up in New York City, I am quite familiar with that tree.
The tree is called Ailanthus altissima. Another name is the tree of Heaven, which may be a sarcastic name. It is quite invasive, grows rapidly, and can live up to 100 years or more. If chopped down, it will regrow from its roots. And, quite literally, the tree can stink.
Today, some 150 miles away from Brooklyn, I saw a Tree of Heaven in the yard of a house in Binghamton, New York, a small city that has seen better days. You don't see quite as many of these trees as you do in Brooklyn (one of the five boroughs of New York City). My father was born and spent part of his life in Brooklyn.
If Brooklyn was its own city (it was, at one time), it would be the fourth largest city in the United States. In some ways, the Ailanthus is the ideal street tree of Brooklyn.
Join Parul at Happiness and Food and other bloggers who love trees on the second and fourth Thursday of the month, for #ThursdayTreeLove. Our lives would be so different without trees, don't you think?
Day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #BlogBoost