The modern art of Tasaj – Thank you, Isabelle (part 1 of 2)

          Everyone uses a different word to describe useless items — junk, crap, rubbish. To me all material items fall into the same category, the category of Tasaj. Tasaj is a term I have used for years randomly in conversation to confuse people. Now, I shall unveil it’s meaning: babababababababa (that’s the drumroll)… Tasaj is an acronym of a phrase my childhood preacher used most Sundays: Things and stuff and junk.
Welcome to post 1 of 2 addressing my personal views regarding Tasaj.
          So many useless things can be bought in today’s world. Stores line every inch of every roadway we drive on daily commutes; rare and precious gems are those sacred paths not adorned by the lure of worldly possessions. Stretches of overgrown road have disappeared from my daily life. Roads with tree tunnels, endless grass, mountain top scenery so entrancing everyone drives under the speed limit — I need more of those roads in my life. I miss roads with views so expansive I feel like a tiny speck in a huge world Horton Hears a Who! style.
          When I was driving to Arkansas with my husband earlier this summer, we saw a tree stretching out over a two lane road. Our path was a straight shot for miles and a single, lone tree was the only dimension in a flat world. Surrounded by dirt fields to the horizon, the lopsided tree rooted itself less than a foot from the road. We approached with great anticipation, watching as the tree grew larger in our windshield. I rolled down my window for a better look. The tree had outstretched branches — out to one side only — the side covering the road. It seemed as if years of growth had been focused not on growing up, but instead on growing out, and to only one side. Branches thick with green leaves and blue specks of flowers hung over the road, suspended against gravity by heaven’s invisible strings. Positioned to perfectly shelter travelers who passed by, the canopy formed by the branches stretched beyond the length of our car.

          I named her Isabelle. She was a strong, dominating presence, yet her position shielding travelers from the sun seemed kind. She reminded me of a time before roads when girls in corsets reclined next to picnic baskets and enjoyed her shade as a refuge from the sunlight of a grassy, open field. I thought of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I felt bad for Isabelle. In an open field she stood tall, waiting for someone to rest under her inviting branches and had anyone ever come? Isabelle must have decided she could wait for people no longer, she must adapt to the changing world around her. Despite being rooted to the ground, if people would not come to her for shade, she would move to them. Steadfast and mighty, Isabelle grew to shade the road. Her bulk had grown to favor the road so heavily, it was a wonder she did not tip over. We slowed down as we passed Isabelle. I wanted to allow her the pleasure of someone appreciating her shade.

There’s more to be learned from Isabelle. What do you think?

Are you privileged to drive any beautiful roadways on your daily commute? Please share.


Click here to read the conclusion of my thoughts on Tasaj. *And try throwing Tasaj into a conversation sometime, reactions will not disappoint. :-).

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