Tree Hugger

“Trees, big ones like this” he said patting the smooth bark of the Banyan tree near our faculty entrance, “carries plenty of energy. When you feel worn out or tired, simply hug one or feel one of it’s leafs in between your fingers, it will share it’s energy with you.”

I was sitting on one of its huge roots, thick and strong gripping the earth beneath it. I thought Lintang’s words made sense. My elementary school education had a lot to do with my acceptance of his words. Trees get minerals from the Earth, it uses it’s leaves to cook the minerals with the help of the Sun. Green plants are among the few living organisms that are self-sufficient. So why shouldn’t they have plenty of energy to share. Wait! Or was it my tendency to believe in mystic mumbo jumbo and new-age bull-crap?

“Why hug? Isn’t sitting on it enough? I mean what’s the difference? Touching it is what counts right?” I said leaning against the tree letting the slow breeze flip several pages of the novel I was reading on and off.

“That’s being disrespectful. If you wish to recieve energy from it you must ask politely. Think of it. How long has this tree been living? Longer than your Grandfather, I bet. Do you simply sit on your grandfather’s lap and ask for money?” he pauses, checks his words and corrects himself, “I forgot, you do..”

I nodded whole-heartedly almost comically. He let out an exasperated sigh. I grinned and plucked a leaf from a lower branch close enough for me to reach. Of which, I earned a disapproving look from Lintang.

The tree’s diameter was around 1,5 meters, not including the dangling roots. I remembered a tree like this from my childhood. I think it was near the Honolulu Zoo. It’s dangling roots were a lot more dense. Dense enough for a child to hide in. Which brought me back to the ghost stories I heard growing up. About tree dwellers or spirits that would ‘hide’ a child who was still playing near it even after dusk. I was immersed in all my memory files of big trees, unaware of Lintang’s watchful eyes.

“Let’s go to California some day.” Lintang suddenly suggested.

“Wha-?” startled from my memory dipping, “What? Why California? I thought we were talking about trees?”

“So? Let’s go to California and meet General Sherman.” he was being mysterious.

“Who’s General Sherman?” I asked, letting a yawn slip.

“Find out for yourself.” he leaned on the tree trunk with his hands reaching backward. A backward hug, because it would’ve been so ‘backward’ if a guy were to actually hug a tree. We both knew he needed an energy boost, for always having to deal with someone like me.


I found out that General Sherman wasn’t just an American Civil War General, but he was also the largest tree on the planet. Lintang didn’t get the chance to go to California. He was killed in the tsunami when spending the mid-semester break at his home town. I haven’t met General Sherman either. But I’ve hugged plenty of trees since.


With the help of some of our neighbours, my husband managed to make a used tire swing using the biggest branch of the Banyan tree in our front yard. They spent all afternoon completing it. Looking exhausted while flapping the dust from his work gloves, he walks over to me and puts his palm on my bulbous belly.

“Look dear, Dad’s built you a swing.” he carresses my tummy lovingly.

I gratefully kiss the crown of his head and tell him that dinner is served. He walks inside. I decided to linger outside for a bit.

I gently put my hand on my belly and cooed,

“Meet Lintang, dear. He is Mommy’s best friend.” looking up to the Banyan tree.

A tear rolls down my cheek. The earth catches it, and as I have always believed, will soon deliver it to the tree.

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