Scots Pine (A Valediction Forbidding Mourning)

Ali Smith

Read time: a minute

Ali Smith’s writing has always put me at an awkward position. I love her writing. Not saying I don’t. But I sometimes fear that I am not understanding her well enough! Her thoughts are all over the stories. She is talking in multiple languages in multiple directions. It gets difficult sometimes but I am like a bee and she like a flower. I keep coming back to her and enjoy her writing nevertheless.

This particular story is about two friends with difference in their ages. They are driving through in their car when they notice a Scots Pine tree fallen on the road. The conversations start and they talk about pines. They talk about the tree and it’s pines as if both of them know the tree better than the other. However, somewhere maturity sets in the older one. There are so many things that the younger one doesn’t know about the pine tree. It only comes with age.

The pine tree is the subject of the story but the author talks about old age and loneliness. She is trying to find a relationship with the pine tree. I really loved the story.

Here are a few lines from the beginning, if it moves you enough to read Ali Smith.

Every question holds its answer, like every answer holds its question, bound so close that they travel together like wings on either side of a seed.

From the collection ‘Why Willows Weep’.

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH