Thursday, July 9, 2015

Forbidden Fruit Of New York City


Urban Plum Tree: Stein writes:I was so excited by the glory of it that I brought a friend to see it. ‘It’s uplifting,’ I said. ‘It’s perfect.’ ”
Photo Credit: Sadie Stein
Source: Paris Review
A short thought piece, by Sadie Stein, in The Paris Review makes one think of social-religious rules of the past and of the present and what one would do when faced with such a tempting proposition.

In “The Tree of Knowledge,” Stein writes about such an experience in New York City’s Manhattan borough:
There is a very beautiful tree growing on West Eighty-third Street. You don’t notice it at first; it sort of blends into the walls and the weeds growing around it. I didn’t notice it for many years. And then one day, a flash of red catches your eye, and you look closer and see it isn’t a bit of plastic bag or a dead balloon or a Coke bottle or any of the urban flora one grows used to. It is a ripening plum. And then you see that there are many of them, dozens of them, and if you look very closely, you could, in that moment, be anywhere in the world. It’s next door to a church.
On closer inspection, there was a sign attached to one of the tree branches, which had a prohibition, an echo of the past, the mother (or is it father?) of all prohibitions:

Thou Shalt Not: Stein writes: “I wandered back later in the day, plucked a fruit, and
brought it home to rot. Nothing much happened. After all, what were they going to do
to me?“

Photo Credit: Sadie Stein
Source: Paris Review
But why did she let the fruit rot? Was it really poisonous? I have my doubts, but then again I am skeptical of such things. We are going cherry picking today to the Niagara region; perhaps picking fruit is in our blood.

For more, go to [ParisReview]