WAT’S UP – Adam Sawatsky

Against all odds

The videographer slams the brakes on the truck when he spots the tree on the rock. Its tall trunk seems to be growing out of a large rock despite a lack of soil or any sign of roots. Unfortunately, the owner of the Haultain Street property isn’t home. So we leave and continue our search for a story for the end of the six o’clock news.

We drive around for two unsuccessful hours before I suggest we return to the tree. The videographer starts getting shots, including the large cracks that radiate from where the trunk appears glued to the rock. A few cyclists ride by. One woman suggests the tree “is from another planet.” Another declares its survival against all odds “is kind of inspiring.”

Unfortunately, the property owner is still away – so we get ready to leave again. But just as we’re about to get back in the truck, I have an overwhelming urge to go for a walk instead. The videographer apprehensively follows, and 30 seconds later the owner pulls into her driveway. If I hadn’t listened to my gut we would have missed the story.

Pili tells us that people ask her about the tree in the rock daily. She says it began as a small sapling that her husband brought home unexpectedly. She didn’t want him to plant it in the yard because it would grow too big and be too messy. So she suggested he place it on the rock instead, where she assumed it would die. Despite decades of no special treatment, it’s thriving. Pili calls it “amazing.”

Then – just as we’re getting ready to leave for the third time – Melissa walks by. She tells us she grew up next door to the tree-on-the-rock and just happened to visit this afternoon because she says, “when I really feel like thinking, I go and sit there.” And if there was ever a time that Melissa could benefit from being with the tree, it’s now. “It’s been a really tough year,” she says.“I’m trying to figure out what to do with my life.”

Melissa climbs up to the top of the rock and reveals she’s been dealing with death, illness and the expectations of family and friends.

On the rock, Melissa is offered a new perspective: “The things that seem big are maybe not so big.” Beside the tree, she says she’s empowered by its unseen roots that have cracked the rock: “It makes me think I’m strong too.”

She says she’s inspired by the resilience of a tree that’s thrived against all odds. “I feel alive and beautiful.”

Adam Sawatsky is an anchor at CTV News Vancouver Island. On the weekend, he hosts ‘Eye on the Arts’ on CFAX 1070.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Gettin’ Higher Choir will be performing alongside Wavelengths Community Choir and special guests during an online concert Jan. 30. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria choirs team up for online concert fundraiser

Valdy among performers for free concert

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Juno-winning Toronto dub poet Lillian Allen is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2021. (Photo courtesy Karen Lee)
Juno-winning dub poet is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet this year

Lillian Allen will present online lecture, reading and Q-and-A

James Summer, the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

Most Read