Any story is, in principle, a tale about a specific place, a specific tree and a specific moment. And people. The tree I want to talk about was our tree. That’s how we conceived it.
In the picture, we’re about 1.5 metres above the ground. With its branches kind of forking off, the whole tree looked like a lyre put sideways on a footstall. And, indeed, it was a weeping willow. Just next to it, there was also an ash tree, so high that you could see it from far away. The area was popularly called the “monkey grove.” It was bounded by four streets: Sucha, Dyrekcyjna, Joannici and Stawowa. Before the war, there was a huge Lutheran church in that square, at the corner of Dyrekcyjna and Stawowa Streets, but it was destroyed in warfare in 1945. None of the houses that had stood there survived. The ground was kind of levelled, but not even tolerably so. And it got overgrown with self-sown plants, with saplings. All the while, the willow and the ash tree had been there since before the war as such big trees couldn’t possibly have grown to be so towering in a matter of a mere dozen years. Clearly, they must have remained there from the old plantings.
Wherever it was that we were coming back home from in the afternoon, that “monkey grove” would be on our way. When we walked from the viaduct to the junction of Joannici St. and Dyrekcyjna St., we always took a short cut across the monkey grove. It wasn’t all that safe, or nice, because the place was a den of all kinds of bums and other unsavoury freaks. The area wasn’t appealing, but when the sun came out, it was beautiful because of all that green.
Ewa and me took pictures of ourselves there soon after our wedding. We went out there for a stroll or something. That tree stood exactly opposite the Railway Offices. It did, but it is no longer there. Those green areas are no more in Wrocław, but we still carry them in our hearts.