Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Joshua Tree

I'm currently enthralled in my latest book - having given up on The Kennedy Women for now, as it's missing much of the juicy bits Nemesis had me hooked by, and returning to my most favorite of category: memoirs with - The Glass Castle. I came across this (these) excerpt(s). And I like it.

The chapter begins:
    After we pulled up stakes in San Francisco, we headed for the Mojave Desert. Near the Eagle Mountains, Mom made Dad stop the car. She'd seen a tree on the side of the road that had caught her fancy.
    It wasn't just any tree. It was an ancient Joshua tree. It stood in a crease of land where the desert ended and the mountain began, forming a wind tunnel. From the time the Joshua tree was a tiny sapling, it had been so beaten down by the whipping wind that, rather than trying to grow skyward, it had grown in the direction that the wind pushed it. It existed now in a permanent state of windblownness, leaning over so far that it seemed ready to topple, although, in fact, its roots held it firmly in place.
    I thought the Joshua tree was ugly. It looked scraggly and freakish, permanently stuck in its twisted, tortured position, and it made me think of how some adults tell you not to make weird faces because your features could freeze. Mom, however, thought it was one of the most beautiful trees she had ever seen. She told us she had to paint it.
 
And ends:
    While we were in Midland, Mom painted dozens of variations and studies of the Joshua tree. We'd go with her and she'd give us art lessons. One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and straight.
    Mom frowned at me. "You'd be destroying what makes it special," she said. "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty."

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