Agitated, my wife came to the bedroom and called me behind the curtain. “She came again”, my wife said. “She said it makes more gardening work for her. What gardening work might it cause for her?”
My wife was talking about a Persian Walnut tree that a friend brought us from Niagara Falls some years ago. Four or five years ago on a spring afternoon, a wet and rainy day, he came to our backyard, laughing happily. He was coming back from Niagara Falls with two tiny branches in his car.
“Persian Walnut, you see…one for you and one for me… I bought them from a garden in Niagara Falls” our friend said while planting that tiny branch in the corner of our backyard. We used to watch it while seated at the kitchen table, watching it grow and spread attractions to the scrolls that were claiming its branches, chewing its leaves, and scrunching, until it became tall enough to peep over the fence.
Then two weeks ago our backyard neighbour called my wife at the door and said, “Cut this tree down, it is making more gardening work for me”. She is the wife of an old, retired policeman.
My wife tried to convince her. “We will take care of everything and it will not bother you at all”, she said, but her words had no success We sat at the kitchen table thinking about what we could do.
Later, while I was cutting two branches which were closest to the neighbour’s fence, my wife was talking almost to herself. “I teach the children in kindergarten about how we should respect Mother Earth, the beauty of nature…what work does it make for her?”
After the second warning from the neighbour lady, we became more desperate. We couldn’t even sit at the kitchen table. My wife rushed to the garage and came back with a shovel. She started digging fast, beating, and hitting the ground with mincing words. I tried to take the shovel from her hand.
“We will transplant it”, my wife said. So, we extracted the plant from the backyard. We had to cut some roots and we cut off some branches and leaves to fit it in the trunk.
“I will keep these branches and leaves for the art activity of my students”, my wife said again mincing her words without looking at me.
My wife drove faster than normal and honked her horn, something that normally she did not do. We drove north to the summer house of our friend.
Hesitantly, with some unreasonable shame, we approached our friend. He laughed and joked as if he wanted to smooth the air. My wife wouldn´t let me take the shovel. She shovelled the ground, beating and hitting it and we transplanted the Persian Walnut tree that late October. We poured plenty of water onto it and added vitamin pills to its injured roots before we went home.
One day when we were seated at the kitchen table, drinking our coffee, my wife asked, “Will it survive?” while staring out into nowhere. “Ye…yes…it…wi…will,” I answered. “Yes it will.”
Mansour Noorbakhsh writes and translates poems in both English and Farsi, his first language. He tries to be a voice for freedom, human rights and environment in his writings. He believes a dialog between people around the world is an essential need for developing a peaceful world, and poetry helps this dialog echoes the human rights. Currently he is featuring The Contemporary Canadian Poets in a weekly Persian radio program https://persianradio.net/. The poet’s bio and poems are translated into Farsi and read to the Persian-Canadian audiences. Both English (by the poets) and Farsi (by him) readings are on air. This is a project of his to build bridges between the Persian-Canadian communities by way of introducing them to contemporary Canadian poets. His book about the life and work of Sohrab Sepehri entitled, “Be Soragh e Man Agar Miaeed” (trans. “If you come to visit me”) is published in 1997 in Iran. And his English book length poem; “In Search of Shared Wishes” is published in 2017 in Canada. His English poems are published in “WordCity monthly” and “Infinite Passages” (anthology 2020 by The Ontario Poetry Society). He is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and he is an Electrical Engineer, P.Eng. He lives with his wife, his daughter and his son in Toronto, Canada.