If You Cut a Tree on Good Friday, It’ll Bleed for the Christ

I was eight-years-old, perhaps nine, and convinced that my entire world would end if I didn’t make a new slingshot. I got out of bed before the sun, fed the chickens, picked any fruit that had fallen overnight, brush my teeth, drank my tea, grabbed a machete and walked to the woods.

The perfect y-shaped branch was at the top of a guava tree. I climbed the tree, chopped off what I needed and went to find my grandmother. She usually smoked her pipe by the edge of the woods as she waited for breakfast to be cooked. It would be nice to sit by her in silence, shaping the base of my new slingshot, while she smoked.

“Magaly!” My grandmother took the pipe out of her mouth with one hand. The other hand was over her heart.

She looked so scared that I turned slowly to see what was behind me. I expected a wild animal or something worse. But there was nothing, so I said, “I’m making a slingshot,” and felt a bit dumb. I mean, what else was there to say?

“It’s Good Friday,” my grandmother said. Her voice was thick with hurt.

I dropped the machete and the branch. And I began to cry.

You see, my Wicked Luvs, my grandmother was a Caribbean Catholic witchy woman. For those who don’t understand what that means, let’s just say that her Saints were rather witchy and she had a lot of respect for Jesus Christ and his mother. One of her beliefs suggested that if a person cut a tree on Good Friday, the tree would bleed for the Christ.

I felt terrible. And I suspect my grandmother felt worse. We walked to the guava tree together. She made me apologize. I suggested burying the branch, but my grandmother said we shouldn’t spear the ground on such a day.

“We’ll plant it tomorrow,” she said.

We did that. And the little guava plant survived. The fence I built around it, and all the fertilizer I made sure it got might have helped.


You’re probably thinking that I’m sharing this with you because it’s Good Friday. Well, yes and no. *sigh* I’ve been in a lot of pain. Not an excuse, I know, but the ache was a factor—I was so very distracted. I was frustrated. And I wanted to do something to take my mind off the pain.

So… I did some gardening. One of my plants caught a pest and I couldn’t save it. I uprooted it and threw it out. I didn’t realize what I had done until I visited my friend Rommy’s Facebook profile and read something she said about Good Friday. I hope my grandmother is not too disappointed.

“Mamá, if you’re reading this (I expect inhabitants of the Summerlands can read all languages, right?)… Anyway, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I truly am. I dug the root of the sick plant out of the trash. I washed it and put it in some water. I’ll replant it tomorrow, love it a lot and hope it survives. If it doesn’t… well, I’ll go from there. As of right now, know that I bled for it—like you did on the day of my slingshot, so that the guava tree and the Christ didn’t have to pay for trespasses that weren’t theirs… but your silly grandchild’s.” 

30 comments:

  1. I love your memories! I will remember your story , remember young one, we are forgiven*****
    I pray that tooth of yours is silenced! I am not a stranger to dental horror, another memorable event.
    Enjoy ( if you can) this lovely weekend!! xoxoDebi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This very moment the tooth is playing nice. I'm hoping it does the same through the night... Last night wasn't pleasant.

      Delete
  2. great story and memory. you should aways talk to the living things. I always tell them beforehand if I am going to prune or pull out. And I tell them every day how beautiful they are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who talks and sings to her green babies. ;-)

      Delete
  3. the connection we humans have with plants is so true. I'm sure Mama's influence has helped you through so very much of life. Wish I could wave my wand and make the pain of the offending tooth disappear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I wonder if she ever realized just how much she was shaping my life. From her waking up before the sun to sweet leaves under the mango tree and sing to the coffee bushes, to cooking the first harvest of rice in the middle of the field... Ah the lovely days...

      The tooth and seem to be coexisting today. Let's hope it lasts until my next appointment.

      Delete
  4. Old beliefs linger always in some corner of our minds, don't they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do, indeed. And I think it's awesome. We all should keep the good bits life touches us with...

      Delete
  5. I have never heard of this belief, but it is interesting...I didn't touch any plants today at all, but tomorrow need to cleanup the garden and plant something nice there, if i can.
    Hope you feel better and your tooth finally will be in peace with you. Take care!
    (P.S. did you hear news about Gabriel Garcia Marquez? I felt sad...but he left such heritage that I am happy I lived with such person on Earth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You just made me wonder what other beliefs might be practice around the world when it comes to this holiday...

      The tooth is been nice. Kind of. Fingers crossed.

      I found out about Márquez while I was on the phone with my friend Rommy. The news broke my heart... I had never cried this much for the passing of a person I wasn't close to. I guess it just hurts too much to think that his glorious mind will not produce again. So sad.

      Delete
  6. I just read the previous comment and forgot what i meant to say.. G.G. Marquez was my favorite author of all times. I just found out from the comment and i feel even worse than i did earlier!
    Be blessed my dear..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand completely. I share the feelings. Blessings right back at you, love.

      Delete
    2. I am sorry to have spread this sad news... I just feel so helpless when it comes to this... But as we say he will live in the hearts of those who admired his talent and his creations.
      Blessings to all!

      Delete
  7. So you traded one pain for another. I suspect that while your heart ached over the trespass, your toothache was momentarily alleviated. Such is the power of the mind and spirit over the physical. Which, by the way dear Magaly, is a both an obvious and subtle theme always woven within the threads of your writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And with these words, you've described why I always to said that to me writing is therapy. It sucks the ugly, the painful, the mean right out of me and it multiplies the awesome. ;-)

      Delete
  8. These anecdotes from you are fascinating to read even though I cannot relate.
    I'm still sorry to hear that you are still in pain though. I hope you get relief soon.

    Happy Easter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is one of the reasons why I write. I think we would be so much better, as a people, if we could find ways to appreciate (or be a little fascinated by) each other even if we don't share that much in common. That feeling would open the door to questions. And questions and answers to learning... and somewhere, along the way... friendship.


      The tooth has been behaving today. Fingers crossed. I have another appointment on Thursday to decide between extraction and implant or root canal.

      Happy Chocolate and Bunny Day to you, too!

      Delete
  9. Your grandmother knew that trees ave souls and taught you that. How wonderful to have grown up with that type of Christianity! Oops battery is getting low but I want to say that I how you are feeling better today. Happy easter Magaly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was a great lady. Things like Easter and the Day of the Dead were great parties around her. She made things happy... and people happiest. I hope you had a lovely holiday.

      Delete
  10. I love this memory of yours, Magaly, thank you for posting it. My maternal grandmother was an Italian Catholic witchy woman, my paternal one an Oglala Sioux Catholic/tribal traditions/witchy woman. We were both blessed to have such women in our lives! I hope your pain gets smaller and smaller until it is soon gone.

    Blessings,

    Victoria

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've always thought grandmothers are magical... and grandmas from the Caribbean and Italy, well, there is all kinds of spice there. ;-)

      Delete
  11. I think this story is so special Magaly! I am so happy you shared it! I will never touch any plants on Good Friday now! I truly hope your tooth gets better soon! Big Hugs ;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and I are so alike when it comes to the way we approach beliefs: if it works, serves a purpose and makes us happy we take it!

      Delete
  12. This story makes me wonder if I hurt any plants yesterday...did you try the clove oil?
    How did the oak tree makes it through the winter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been trying the oil pulling (Renee B recommended it) and it seems to be working. Cloves burns too much; not sure why. But I'm drinking the tea.

      The oak is doing great... and it has two brothers now. Long story. Will tell you soon.

      Delete
  13. Awww, this makes me miss my own grandmother. I don't recall her ever mentioning not cutting things on Good Friday, but she was very caring about her garden. I don't remember what I did on Good Friday, I don't think they involved plants though. I will keep this story in mind for next year, though. I'm sorry you're in so much pain. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My grandma always found a way to add witchiness to her Catholicism and the other way around too. Saints were always being invoked for witchy bits, lol.

      My tooth still a bastard, but I've been trying the oil pulling. I think it's helping, but it's too early to tell for sure.

      Delete
  14. I understand this and yes, it makes complete sense to me that the symbolism would be linked, between growing trees and a dead crucifix. I can understand your horror and I'm really glad the little guava gre for you. I hope the sicky plant recovers as well, with some Magaly love and care.

    How's that damn tooth?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. grew. Grew, not gre. You can read typo, I take it? Seems I speak it, fluently.

      Delete
    2. People have a way of making things make sense in their heads... and by people, I do mean me, lol!

      My tooth is still a bastard. One more week... and then off with its head.

      Delete