The man who planted trees
Every so often I think about learning French. Never enthusiastically enough to actually go through with it. I think I am too old now for a language that doesn’t build on my Proto-Germanic base. Romantic languages seem complicated. (This is the most commonly used narrative I use to un-convince myself and return to what I am good at, i.e. dying in Playstation games) Mostly this phase envelopes me when I’ve just consumed an obscure French indie film or when I am fondly imagining having the time (and chutzpah) to read Michel de Montaigne in the original. Plus, all these clever writers and personalities that I like often use French witticisms that I never understand and always have to Google. (I’m looking at you Christopher Hitchens and Anthony Bourdain).
L’esprit de l’escalier for example. (one of my most liked) Which, even while fluent in several ‘spurs’ of the language Charles the V’s used to instruct his horse with… (he famously mentioned only ever using German when having to converse with his equine)… its basically impossible to work out what L’esprit de l’escalier actually means without a search engine. Unless of course you are Parlant français. To be fair I understand Teutonic compound nouns. Which is like… well… as consolation prizes go it isn’t great.
In any event, there is so much good French stuff out there! One of my favorite short-stories (of ALL TIME) is of French origin. L’homme qui plantait des arbres. Which translates into The man who planted trees.
I love this story with all my heart. And soul. (In so far as I still have one)
It is, as you might imagine, about a man who plants trees. Oak trees specifically. But I seem to remember he branched out into Spruce and Beech trees at some point. Branch out. *chortles to himself* See, what I did there. But really, this story is so much more!
In any event. I recently discovered this book had been turned into a short animation. What?!? Not only that, it earned an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1987.
How am I only finding out about this now? *counts on his fingers* eh… 33 years after the fact!
As it turns out, finding this animation gem was less arduous that I expected. Because its on YouTube.
Watch it!!! It’s awesome. And it will make you feel cheerful and well disposed towards humanity (for a while) and who doesn’t need that from time to time.
Also it might change your… I don’t want to say life… but maybe shade your outlook with the boughs of one of its branches. Until someone cuts you off in traffic and you have to get out of your car and kick in their door, to illustrate your extreme umbrage.
But you know… take the win from time to time and let’s pretend we are all as awesome as the Shepherd in this story.