On a warm and sunny Saturday morning, Melinda watches as arborists come to cure the sick tree outside her house by trimming off its dead branches. The scene becomes horrific, however, as Melinda imagines that the tree’s sap is like blood, and that the chainsaw being used to cut the branches is killing it.
Melinda identifies with the tree, just as she did with the dissected frog. Although she intellectually knows that the arborists are saving the tree, she cannot help but feel violated by their actions.
Disgusted by her father, who is pretending to know more about the tree-pruning process than he does, Melinda takes her bike out and rides away, although she doesn’t remember the last time she was on a bike.
As usual, Melinda finds her father ridiculous and hypocritical. Her decision to ride her bike again shows her newfound energy and initiative.
Melinda bikes to the barn where the party took place, and walks to the tree-filled spot where she was raped. Her heart pounds as she stands on the spot, crouching by a tree’s trunk and feeling its bark. She feels as if she has been “undersnow” for a long time, and wonders how she can ever be revived. Reminding herself that she has “survived,” she wonders whether she can cut out the sick part of her soul with a chainsaw. Putting her fingers into the dirt, she imagines a “small, clean part of me” that is waiting “to warm and burst through the surface.” She imagines that her old self is like a seed that she must cultivate.
Melinda’s decision to revisit the place where she was raped represents a huge step forward for her. Months ago, she couldn’t even admit to herself what happened; now she is standing on the spot where her trauma took place. As Melinda communes with the plants and the ground, she imagines herself as a seed peeking through the snow. Although a terrible event took place on this spot, Melinda is able to reclaim it using images of healing, fertility, and rebirth.