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  • KDW Ferrell

Putty Peeps Diaries - Flora, Earl, Blue Trees and Interdependence

I love fall. In fact it is my new favorite season. The crisp air, the fluffy white clouds, the mountains in the background. It is a wonderful time in Denver. Snow is threatening in the high country, but in the Mile High city it is a perfect day. The grass is still quite green and the sky is bright and alive. I discovered this morning that it was cool and I needed a coat, my tin is not insulated you see, but in the afternoon I needed a backpack to carry my coat because it is too warm to wear. Yes Virginia Putty Peeps do wear clothes. I prefer waistcoats and self tie bow ties for more formal occasions, but I can rock jeans and a fleece vest with the natives.

Today, I opted to leave the coffee shops and enjoy the outdoors before snow takes hold of the city. I took a stroll through Civic Center Park, past the City and County Building, past the U.S. Mint and then down to the museum. So much to see, so much to marvel at, so much to do in this fair city.

What did my wondering eyes find you may ask? Well I dined with a squirrel. On my way around the U.S. Mint I spotted this little guy, munching contentedly on his lunch. I stopped, we chatted, his name is Earl. A nice fellow, willing to share his nut, his wisdom and a few stories. I refused the nut because I had already had a latte and nuts don’t really agree with us Putty Peeps. Too much fiber you know. I did listen to his stories and took his wisdom with a a grain of salt. Any way, Earl talked about his best sites for nut gathering and how it is harder for him in the city. “Nuts don’t grow on all trees,” Earl said. “They especially don’t grow on the blue trees over in the park.”

“Blue trees,” I said. “There are no blue trees.”

“Oh yes there are. Go around the block and you will see blue trees.”

At first I thought Earl was trying to tell me I was not old enough to understand or did not have the experience necessary to understand what blue trees meant. I eyed him suspiciously and asked, “is there something in that nut?”

“Of course there is something in this nut,” Earl exclaimed. “Trust me, there are blue trees. Just go and see for yourself.”

I narrowed my eyes and decided to throw caution to the wind and seek out the blue trees.

Oh Denver, a mile high and the smell of Cannabis in the air around every corner. I fear even the squirrels are going a bit mad. As for the people I am not sure what is the more popular tourist attraction the art at the museum or the grass in shops. For this Putty Peep it is a bit much. Nothing on the vape pens or edibles gives any clear guidance on dosage for those of us small and green. Besides I like natural highs, like caffeine’s sotto voce song in my ear. I want to be clear, I did not inhale while on my search for the blue trees.

Along the route I did see some sun flowers. Neatly planted and tended in the beds around so many of the buildings. Weeded with care and proud to show their faces to the sun. I asked but they had no comment. Playing it close to the vest I assumed, not wanting to give away any trade secrets. Probably signed a lengthy non-disclosure agreement, I thought as I sauntered past still in search of the blue trees.

As I round the corner away from Earl and the silent sun flowers, heading towards Civic Center park as directed, I saw them. Yep blue trees, a sight usually reserved for Dr. Seuss books. “Earl was right,” I said to no one and everyone. “Blue trees.” No one paid me any attention as I marveled at the blue trees. I was amazed at the precision paint, or dye or coating or whatever was applied to the trees that gave them this surreal shade of blue. These trees were manicured, maintained and monitored. No wonder Earl could not find any nuts on these trees. They were perfect in their random blueness, ordered in their uniqueness and devoid of any pesky nuts. Weird, in the middle of a city, blue trees.

I watched and people just walked by as if this was normal. “Hey look at that blue trees, oh I am late,” and “the new IOS update is killing my battery, huh blue trees, cool,” and “blue trees, are they decorating for Christmas already, is it a blue theme.” They all said so much but said little to nothing about the blue trees. “Really,” I thought to myself. “Really, I mean come on people there are blue trees, right here in the middle of the city, your city. Can anyone say global warming?” Okay I realize the paint is probably just for impact, or effect, or city, state or team pride, but still, shouldn’t someone notice? Nope, they all just looked and kept walking.

It made sense to me when I saw a person sleeping on the curb with their feet dangling in the street why no one noticed. The city spends money to maintain blue trees. People see them but don’t really take notice. That makes sense. No one notices the blue trees but yet they are maintained. What doesn’t make sense? The person sleeping on the curb of 14th Avenue, feet dangling in the street, wheel chair standing idly by packed with odds and ends of homeless detritus and no one noticed.

Who noticed? Well this little Putty Peep noticed. But what could I do? I am just a Putty Peep. I weigh next to nothing, have no voting rights, own only the tin on my back and have no words of wisdom. Was I really was the only one who noticed this person? How did this happen? How did it become more important to maintain blue painted trees? Is that natural? Are the trees a long lost anchor between the real world and the cartoon world? Is that why they are maintained? Or are the trees a symbol of what can be done with some thought, a sense of humor and a bucket of Acme blue? Either way those trees overshadowed this person on the we noticed you scale.

“Your suffering is my suffering. Your happiness is my happiness.” I saw this on a wall once and later learned it was attributed to the Buddha. It is a metaphor for interdependence. Interdependence, what a great word. It means that everything occurs as a result of causes and conditions, and more importantly, anything can change as a result of causes and conditions. To a Putty Peep it means were are susceptible to the causes and conditions around us. The only thing that is constant is the state we are in inside our tin. Outside of that tin we can change, melt, flatten, ooze, twist and shout and because of causes and conditions.

Perhaps if this person, and other like them, were a cause then the conditions would change. The interdependence between blue trees and sleeping on (nearly in) the street would be changed as a result of causes. Perhaps they would say “I wonder if it would be better to spend less time painting the trees blue and more time keeping feet dangling in the street.”

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