Walnut Tree.

The words below have always had big resonance for me. A resonance that is rising to a crescendo these days.

There is a story behind them of course. A girl I have spoken of before on this blog. In Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris there are lots of trees. Including walnut trees. In spring the flowering trees look pretty good. This particular story is more about autumn though. One time this girl I’m talking about and I were walking across Pont des Arts and looking at the locks left by lovers. We were joking about how we were both going to be left on the shelf. As part of the joke we made a pact that if we were both unmarried in 5 years to the day then we would marry each other. It was just a jokey thing but we agreed that we would meet under a walnut tree in Pere Lachaise in five years whatever happened.

She didn’t make it to the five years. Her great storm happened very soon after. A storm that somehow I got caught up in. I wish neither of those things had happened but they did and there is no changing that. Then, sometime after that she was gone. Beneath the waves. Literally in her case. There was no goodbye. Something that many people thought was a cruel thing. I increasingly think, if she was able to think it through at all, then it was intended as an act of kindness. The ambiguity deliberate. She had a sister and through her I felt there was still a live connection. Some years passed and then her sister left us also. Through physical illness. I hadn’t known she was ill and so, again, there was no goodbye. I struggle with an absence of goodbye.

Increasingly now I sense her waiting. She has indeed been waiting a long, long time. I feel she has a message for me and I hear her more loudly than people who are still alive.

Once there was a great storm,
Pushed my head beneath the waves,
I was gone.

Underneath the walnut tree,
Where you said you’d wait for me,
And I waited a long, long time

I waited a long, long time,
I waited a long, long time,
I waited a long, long time,
I waited a long, long time.

Why, why do I come here?
Seeking out the memories I hold dear,
‘Cause you put your spell on me,
Made me live a memory,
And I’m frozen in just the wrong time.

I waited a long, long time,
I waited a long, long time,
I waited a long, long time,
I waited a long, long time.


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