While Planet Earth burns, thankful for ‘The Teardrop Tree’
Thankful for FTCFTH, FNB, Berkeley Flea Market, & The Teardrop Tree”
This dispatch comes from settler-dominated Kiikaapoi Territory, Turtle Island, while Planet Earth burns:
I am thankful for First They Came For The Homeless, Food Not Bombs, the Berkeley Flea Market, and trees everywhere, but for one tree in particular. Let me briefly explain.
While my stomach rumbled on a Friday in February 2018, the staff at John George Concentration Camp summarily expelled me from the premises, which suited me just fine, since the other option was to remain confined inside their filthy “psychiatric pavillion”. Worse yet, its champions call it a hospital, though my time there developed as such that I felt no surprise when they refused to feed me my lunch that day. In shorts and flip-flops, with a t-shirt and shawl & my glasses, I walked to where the staff told me I could find public transportation. They told me that Bay Fair was the closest BART station and I searched for it with the directions I got: “Go downhill.”
I duly headed to a lower elevation to attempt to bus back to Oakland just for meds and then onward to Berkeley to sleep (the landlord changed the locks while I was confined). My gaze fell onto a beefy evergreen tree in a tiny park. Such compassion as I had never felt before flowed from the tree into me, sustaining and emboldening my shattered mind in that moment and through time when I tap into my memories of The Teardrop Tree. The same goes for memories of FTCFTH, the Berkeley Flea Market, & FNB.
Then, I saw the pine cones surrounding the tree like so many teardrops. Dozens of them reminded me that life went on while I had been confined for about two weeks at that disgusting psychiatric jail where crazies on public assistance, like me, get stuffed into when we insult police or engage in otherwise “insane” behavior.
The tree let down pine needles in front of my eyes like falling rain, as it started to rain. The fallen caressed and snuggled the dozens of its spawn that laid out before me like gold on the ground. Obviously park maintenance sweeps them like camps into the “trash,” as no grove of trees stood: only one tree wept its wooden tears onto the nearly barren ground.
I wonder if The Teardrop Tree still lives, and if it still weeps; I do. I hope it still comforts those human beings headed down the hill after getting out. Fortunately the AC Transit #40 running cross-ways along the hill was my normal route, so I knew where it went, at least when not waylaid by sideshows.
Several love-forces in that time made my life oh-so-much more livable as I carried around several pine cones with my meager property in my paper bag in the misty rain that afternoon.
Food Not Bombs fed me within three hours of me getting out. The next place I comfortably sat down was near the Berkeley-Oakland HERE/THERE sign at camp with First They Came for The Homeless. The unimaginable suffering alleviated remains just that: unimagined & not realized. Thank you. Going through JGCC was bad enough without starving on the street, homeless with no wallet, with pine cones and myself to barter/sell/trade.
Beloved campers with First They Came for The Homeless soothed my troubled heart in a manner that only living in individual and collective freedom can offer.
Food Not Bombs participants continue to amaze me with just how much good food they offer to the beloved community.
The Teardrop Tree remains one of the best trees I’ve known in my life. She gave me so much. The day after meeting her, I did end up bartering with beloved family at the Berkeley Flea Market. We exchanged a wooden teardrop for a blessed-smelling whipped shea butter creation that lifted my spirit.
Through the love-force put out by all those who go mentioned and some of those who go unmentioned here, I did not drop myself in front of a Richmond-bound BART train that Saturday.
Thank you, thank you, over & over; crimson & clover & love & rage.
F.K.A. Lindsey Krantz
December 5, 2020
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