The 43 Trees Project
Charlotte of The 43 Trees Project
Charlotte, From French Stock
August 1923

I've tried not to fall but what can I say? It's inevitable? That this is the way we all end? I'll hold on a bit, but then I'll be just like Jesse over there, both of us on our backs, helpless. Then we'll be the past. We'll decompose, return to the earth. If it hadn't been this storm, it would've been the next. And if not that, sooner or later, there'd be a change in outlook, a difference in values. Someone would've said the upkeep was too much, more land is needed for more housing stock, build a ball field, even a parking lot. Torn down, roots ripped right out, plowed under. At least this way, I can hang on for a week or two, a month if I'm lucky. I can watch my own demise and that of my friends and family.

I've been here for some time. Over ninety years, if I'm right. I got here from Pennsylvania, near Altoona. Carried on a breeze; yes, a breeze. And before that, from Acadia, up north. The stock originated in France. Near the border with Spain. Some time in the 1600s my forebears were carried over unknown by the Catholics, mixed in with some grain. Not just any Catholics, they were Jesuits, who'd declared they'd come to conquer souls. And we know how that went.

But imagine that! I'm French, and end up in New Jersey. Strange how we get to where we do, how the world turns, the events of history colliding against each other to create what seems like order. In the end, no matter how or why, we find the years have passed. And then, what? On our backs, or close to it, hanging on for one last look, a few more sunrises, a couple more breezes lighting on our remaining limbs. Only hoping one of them carries some part away, so we might somehow live, continue. Maybe regenerate.

What else can we believe in?

Written by Mauro Altamura