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Land That We Love

Sandra Cisneros

Favorite place: A huge cypress along the San Antonio River.

My favorite place is in San Antonio: a huge cypress near my house, along the San Antonio River, where Crofton and Constance streets meet. It’s at least a century old and full of orifices for whispering or leaving offerings. Its roots are perfect for cradling in and reading a book. Once, it had a cleft in its belly, but someone cemented it up, I think because too many critters slept in there, two-legged as well as four-. Well, why not? Who wouldn’t want to sleep in the belly of a tree?

This is an ancient and sacred tree. Sometimes I find folks having a picnic there. Sometimes I find beer cans and condom wrappers. It seems everyone finds plenty of reasons to hang out by the tree. As for me, whenever I’m lost, I sit down on its lap and listen to what it has to tell me. 

I featured this very tree in my most recent book, Have You Seen Marie?, so that no one would do it any harm. I think it should be given a Nobel Peace Prize. After all, it is full of peace and unity and offers love indiscriminately to all.

Cisneros is the author of The House on Mango Street and Caramelo, as well as various short stories, poetry collections, children’s books, and essays. She lives in San Antonio and central Mexico.

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