It is a dark hour in America. Like everyone, I read the news about the Newtown killings with a heavy heart and wet eyes.
This morning I headed for the “Wishing Tree” in Lam Tsuen for a bit of fresh air and peace. I had my youngest child for company. My older child — who is roughly the same age as most of Friday’s victims — was at school.
Hongkongers visit the tree with their hopes for good fortune and good health. Someone with an ill grandmother might visit the tree to seek her recovery by having a wish for her wellness written on sheets of paper. They’d then tie the rolled-up papers to an orange and toss it up into the branches of the tree. If the wish catches on one of the tree’s branches, it is said to be sure to come true.
Approaching the tree this morning, it was not filled with oranges and red slips of paper. Instead its limbs were propped up with crutches. The tree itself has been burdened with too many wishes and is now in a “recovery period.” Wishers now either throw their hopes into a nearby artificial tree or tie them to purpose-built wooden racks.
We arrived earlier than the wish-scribes so I simply viewed the tree, thought about the 20 first graders and 6 adults who were killed on Friday, and watched my son innocently and happily wander around the village.
I also pondered a relevant and sadly similar story out of Mainland China last week. Here is the print edition headline from the article in Saturday’s South China Morning Post:
“Knifeman injures 23 in Henan school attack.”
Emphasis on “knife” and “injures” (in contrast to “gun” and “kills”) is mine. An on-line version of the story with a slightly different headline can be found here.
I dream of a brighter, less violent future for America.
I wish for better care for the mentally ill.
I hope for serious gun control in America.