#writephoto — The Asylum Tree

img_1779“Look at that tree, Ma,” Alex said, pointing to a tree with limbs and branches covered torn pieces of cloth. “What does it mean?” he asked her.

“That, sweetie,” Cindy said, “is known as the ‘Asylum Tree.’ It’s meant to remind us of the struggles of people trying to come to the United States from other countries in order to escape violence and persecution.”

“Why does it have all of those rags tied to it?” Alex wanted to know.

“Well, under federal law, anyone from another country can seek asylum — and therefore entry into the U.S. — by claiming to have fled their countries out of fear of persecution over their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group,” she explained.

“But President Trump is ignoring that law and arresting people from Central America who are seeking asylum,” Cindy said. “ And worse, he’s taking young children away from their mothers and fathers and putting the children into cages.”

“That’s terrible, Ma,” Alex said. “How can our president be so cruel, so heartless?”

“Many of us are asking that same question, Alex,” she agreed. “He is turning our country into a place that many of us don’t recognize anymore. We are embarrassed and ashamed.”

“But the rags,” he said. “I still don’t understand why they are attached to the tree.”

“Each of those pieces of cloth hanging from the tree branches,” she said, “represents a child who has been torn away from their mother or father to remind us of the inhumanity of Donald Trump and those who support him.”

“I hope that the next time we come to see this Asylum Tree, there will be no more rags tied to it,” Alex said.

“I hope so to, sweetie,” Cindy said.

Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.



One of my greatest regrets in life was that, growing up and even into adulthood, I was too self-absorbed to ask my parents to tell me about their childhoods, their lives before I was born. I was too busy trying to figure out who I was, wanted to be, and how I wanted to live my own life to ask them about theirs.

As a first generation American, I missed hearing the tales of their separate journeys from “the old country” to America, how they met after they got here, and how they managed to make it in their new country. I’m sure theirs would have been riveting stories.

But then they were gone and it was too late. I can’t imagine the fascinating and powerful tales I missed out on because of my being so self-centered. What a shame.

My kids are apparently chips off the old block. They seem not to be interested in hearing my stories either. They are too busy trying to figure out who they are, want to be, and how they want to live their own lives to ask me about mine.

What goes around comes around.

When I posted this, WordPress hadn’t yet posted its daily one-word prompt. So I decided to post my own one-word prompt using the word “regrets.” If anyone else wants to use “regrets” as a one-word prompt, please feel free to do so. And be sure to link to this post via a pingback.