In the essay “Planting a Tree”, the author describes his place of living and its surroundings. The author, Edward Abbey, lives in a little house close to the city Tucson, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Abbey portrays his place of living and the surroundings in a very distinct manner. Despite being surrounded by wild animals, Abbey describes the place as nice. Although, he would like to stay here for a while, but he probably will not. However, before leaving Abbey wants to plant a tree so someone or something can enjoy its shade, or birds, or witness the pale gold of its autumn leaves.
Abbey and his family have lived at this place for four years and are now free to leave whenever they wish (Abbey 541). Abbey, along with his wife and daughter moved to Tucson from Utah four years ago. Abbey describes this move being for practical reasons (Abbey 541). However, Abbey’s tone describes that they moved with a military camp. He explains that the “police helicopters circle like fireflies above Tucson, Arizona, all night long, maintaining order…. Eighteen Titan missile bases ring the city, guarding us from their enemies.
The life expectancy of the average Tucsonan, therefore, is thirty minutes—or whatever it takes for an ICBM to shuttle from there to here. Everything is A-OK. We sleep good” (Abbey 541). Abbey also explains that the practical reasons they moved for are now satisfied and they are free to leave whenever they wish. It seems that Abbey would like to stay here but is probably commanded to go back at some point. Abbey, correlating the defeat of two great contemporary empires with the creeping of the city closer, foresees that he will be obliged to strike camp, once again.
Moreover, not knowing where they will go this time. Furthermore, Abbey says that even though he does not know where they will be off to this time, it does not matter too much as “there is no final escape, merely a series of tactical retreats, until we find a stone wall at our backs, bedrock beneath our feet (Abbey 541). Abbey does not seem to show much concern in moving again but it seems that he does not want to think about it. Hence, he depicts his inner feelings by saying “enough of this skulking rhetoric” (Abbey 541).
As Abbey wants to end this skulking rhetoric, he changes the topic to his ultimate motive, the motive to plant a tree. Abbey describes his place as nice, worthy of him and his family living there for a lifetime or two. This shows that Abbey and his family are really in love with this place but will have to leave as commanded. It seems that due to their love with this place, they want to plant a tree to keep their ties with this place.
Additionally, Abbey’s love is also depicted in the words that he uses to describe his house. He says that in a few years the tree that he is going to plant will provide shade in the front porch and the roof of the house. “If the house is still here. If someone, or something, as I hope, is still enjoying this house, this place, this garden of rock and sand and paloverde , of sunshine and delight” (Abbey 541). He uses the words such as: enjoying this house, garden or rock and sand, and paloverde of sunshine and delight.
Moreover, Abbey acknowledges that him and his family might never see this tree mature, take pleasure in its shade or birds, or witness the pale gold of its autumn leaves; on the contrary, he believes that somebody or something will. Abbey and his family are just content in knowing that their tree is going to here in years to come with or without them. Abbey also mentions that just in the anticipation of his tree being there in years to come gives him enough satisfaction (Abbey 541). Therefore, this shows that his love with this place if very profound.