Magazine >> Issue Two | November 2005
TREES OF SEATTLE
When one walks beneath the breathing branches and bark of a big tree you are not entering a spot of shade but a whole other world, a realm with its own climate, quality of light, and sounds of the night. But despite their impossible size, big trees almost go unnoticed in our big cities. Only arborists give proper attention to these living things that take up so much space and have been around for as long as anyone can remember. This article, serialized over the next three months, will explore and describe the ignored giants within the limits of the city of Seattle.
Because being big is the essential feature of a big tree, we shall begin with a tree whose inessential features have been entirely removed. This tree is nothing but big.
Unlike big trees in the real world, the tree on this set has no life in or on it. Nevertheless, it is impressive, with thousands of green leaves fictionally nourished by the suns of ten or so spotlights. And what a trunk this tree has! Indeed, it’s by no means easy to believe that immediately after November 13th (the end of Flight’s run), the whole damn thing will be dismantled and replaced by another prop for another play. Big trees, especially fake ones, have a presence that is larger than life.
Charles Tonderai Mudede is an associate editor for The Stranger. He was born in an Africans-only hospital in Que Que (now called Kwe Kwe), Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe), in 1969—Kwe Kwe was, and still is, a steel town, much like Charles Dickens’s Coketown. Mudede is also an adjunct professor at Pacific Lutheran University, and his work has appeared in The Village Voice, Sydney Morning Daily, and The New York Times, among others. Mudede reads Lolita at least three times a year.