Bomb Scare
Random Thoughts on a Sunny Sunday

The Symbolism of a Downed Tree

Yesterday when I was driving home I found the way blocked by a tree that had fallen across the street that I take to get home. There was no way to get around the tree: it spread its trunk and branches from curb to curb. I drove into the parking lot next to it, thinking that I could get back to the street, but I couldn’t so I did an inelegant 3-point turn. When I got to the stop sign at the top of the street where I was planning to turn left, there were two cars in front of me, the first one seemed to be driven by a new driver because s/he was not moving even when there was time to go. So I turned to the right, thinking I’d make a u-turn at the next opening. Of course, there was a “no u-turn sign” there, and since I’m not into breaking obvious road laws, I took a left into the street and did another inelegant 3-point turn to get back to where I needed to be. I made my right. At the light where I needed to make my left turn to the street that would lead me to my street, I temporarily became disoriented by the dusk and the rain and turned into the left side of the street—as in the side where three lanes of cars were coming right at me with their white lights shining—right into my eyes. Luckily, at that moment my temporary road-rule amnesia left me and I did yet another inelegant 3-point turn. Everyone waited for me to turn around, that is except one asshole who was, I guess, aggravated by me and my unfamiliarity with the rules, who drove around me in the middle of my turn. No compassion from him. I bet HE (I am sure it’s a he, sorry guys) was going someplace really important that he couldn’t wait for someone who was obviously in distress or distraught to correct her error. Everyone else waited for me to finish my turn, thankfully, and then at the light, I made a U-turn to my street because there wasn’t a “no u-turn” sign there. I was also afraid what would happen if I needed to go down another street and make another 3-point turn. I needed to get off the road, I felt lucky to still be driving.

The rest of the drive home, all seventy seconds of it, were uneventful.

Those roadblocks and mistakes made me think that the drive home might be symbolic of the meeting I just had, and what it might mean for the future—and what it might represent for the past. I had come from meeting a woman in response to her Craig’s List ad (no, I’ve not so completely given up on men) to start up a Jewish-Palestinian dialogue group and this woman, as we learned through our emails and our first meeting, is the Palestinian-American version of me. It wasn’t odd at all to hear how the trajectories of our lives were so similar, rather it felt right—the embodiment of people connecting as people and not being the representatives of any side or cause. We moved to Israel and the West Bank at around the same age. She married a Palestinian and I married an Israeli. We both suffered from their words. We both had to deal with “dealing with him” with the children and in bitter divorces. And we both came back to the states. We both worked on getting our careers on-track, for ourselves and our children. And we both want to do something about abuse and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And we laughed and enjoyed telling the stories of our lives to each other.

I thought that the roadblocks on the way home represent the roadblocks that we may face to create whatever group or program we have yet to envision (we’re at the brainstorming phase). They could also represent the immense and intense roadblocks that Israelis and Palestinians have placed between themselves so that in Israel we never would have met. I lived in Israel for seventeen years and the two-hour conversation that I had yesterday was more than I had spoken with any Palestinian in all of that time, unless you add the time I spent ordering meals from Palestinian waiters.

In the three years I spent studying for my master’s degree in conflict studies I never met anyone with whom to have a dialogue. Most of the people were, from my perspective, so anti-Israeli that they couldn’t do the most basic thing the field demands of people--to see those on the other side as people, as individuals, and not as representatives of a side. So there we were, two women—mothers and ex-wives—meeting as women do, by sharing their stories and seeing how they can work together to make the world a better place. A more peaceful place for their children—for everyone’s children. 

It’s raining and dreary outside, but I feel a warmth that I haven’t felt for a while.



This sounds like a very worthy endeavor. There can never be too many movements toward peace in the world. And perhaps another facet of this symbolism is that no matter the obstacles thrown in front of you, you CAN figure out how to overcome them and move on.
Seems the most important event of the night is that you accomplished your goal; you made it home. You can do anything you set your mind to. :)


Very powerful symbolism here in the very broad sense, too.

The goal = Peace (whether in the world sense or in YOUR world sense), you run into things that block progress, you work around them (and it isn't always PRETTY or CONVENIENT) but, in the end, you achieve your goal.

I think people spend too much time looking for/at how "they" are different. If we (collectively) spent more time looking for how we are all the same, maybe the world would be a better, more peaceful place.

I'm looking forward to hearing about how things progress!


If you and this woman are willing to talk to each other, there must be others who are also ready for dialogue. It's exciting, the possibilities of what can happen when people work together toward the common goal of peace and understanding. Good luck to you in forming your group.

The tree is very symbolic I think. We all have symbolism in our lives, the difference is recognizing the opportunities presented to us for our own personal growth in these daily occurrences. One thing you can take away from your experience is your ability to work around an obstacle in your path, even having to deal with a disagreeable outside force.


There is great power in conversation and connecting. So simple but so much potential.


I can not tell you how excited and happy I am to read this story. The layers and symbolism one could take from this are enormous! In fact this is the kind of stuff worthy of a documentary to encourage peace instead of war. How more senseless does all the the and violence seem now?


If mothers ruled the world...thanks for taking those first steps (amidst all the obstacles) to help mothers run the world!

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