Friday, December 8, 2023

The White Tree of Life . . . Saver

I change the wallpaper on my phone from time to time, probably every month or so on average. In my September 29 post "Syncs: Tropical dreams and not-dreams, 555, Freeman and not-Freeman," I describe how on August 29 I changed my wallpaper to an image of the White Tree of Gondor, and then less than a month later I found very similar imagery in a book I was reading, The Unseen by Mike Clelland. Since then, I've changed the wallpaper four or five times.

On November 22, as described in "They shall take up serpents," I somehow changed my wallpaper to a picture of a coiled rattlesnake while I was asleep or half-asleep, with no conscious awareness of having done so. I didn't like having that as my wallpaper, but I couldn't decide what I wanted instead. I briefly tried various things and finally, a couple of days ago, reverted to the White Tree of Gondor. (It's unusual for me to go back to an old wallpaper like that.) Once again, the imagery was reflected in what I was reading -- in this case Green by Laura Peyton Roberts.

Spoiler warning, I guess, in case any of you were planning to read a novel about leprechauns written for teenage girls. A peppermint Life Saver falls into the mud, and then this happens:

Where the candy had fallen, something was rising out of the muck. Something weird and spindly and shaped like a . . . tree? Its pointed trunk stretched up toward the moon. Boughs sprouted and began to spread. [. . .] Still the tree kept growing -- up, out, bigger, faster, until it was truly huge. And every inch of root, trunk, and needle was peppermint white, glowing in the moonlight like a bleached bone.

A spindly, all-white tree at night -- matching my phone wallpaper quite closely.

For Mormons, the first connotation of a white tree is not Gondor but the Tree of Life as seen in the desert visions of Lehi and Nephi. The white tree in Green grows from a Life Saver.

My reading about the Life Saver tree also coincided with my employee putting up an all-white Christmas tree at our school. The white tree in Green is not explicitly Christmas-related (the story takes place in summer), but peppermint is a Christmassy flavor (candy canes), and the mention of needles rather than leaves suggests a Christmas-type tree.

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