After what feels like centuries a story has been brewing inside me, earnest to be put on paper. Enjoy.
My grandfather housed a distinct fondness for trees. A love he happily passed on to me after failing to do so with my father. Being a reclusive child I seldom ventured outdoors, fearing human malice for, as a kid I was once pushed in a muddy ditch for committing the innocent crime of being the new girl in town.
The cucoon into which I invariably recoiled in grew into a home. I turned inwards for respite and befriended books and nature to ward loneliness. But the queer claws of time germinated an odd upheaval in my bosom. A longing for something so elusive it prevented me, at times from getting sleep.
Perhaps, my grandfather sensed this turmoil within me, an utter restlessness and angst for desiring something farther from my reach, and invisible to the eye- like friendship but not with a human form. Humans repelled me.
Thus, one cool April morning when the sun was tepid enough to cake us in its warmth and the air still tasted of dew my grandfather took me to a nearby hill, where I often previously went for walks. I noticed the clatter of a shovel tied to his waist against keys dangling from a belt loop, and a small plastic bag full of what seemed like dirt; but didn’t say a word.
We stopped at the highest crest the hill could afford. A few gulls croaked in the distance and a warm breeze swept the fields. Far East, I could see our little house, a tiny dot within a green pasture, a muddy road snaking its way into it.
“Do you know why we’re here?” my grandfather asked with a twinkle in his eyes, breaking my reverie.
I shook my head. Even at the usually stimulating age of fourteen, my heart somehow was always too tired to speak.
“I’m here to introduce you to a friend. Who will stay with you throughout your years and will stay further for your posterity and perhaps further for more generations to come.”
With this he dug a small pit in the heart of the earth and handed me the bag of dirt, which upon closer observation, bore a tiny sapling. I placed the sapling in the ditch gently and pat it shut.
My grandfather passed away shortly after and I found respite in the sapling when my heart ached too much for him. Its existence became my purpose. I spent my youth watering, nurturing and at times even talking to it.
Time flew past like gusts of wind and ten long years later, I sit under what grew into a magnificent, sentinel, behemoth tree- lush and green, watching over me like a silent guardian. The distant longing inside me quelled with the tree’s pristine, watchful presence- quiet and sincere. The tree taught me stillness and how to give without expecting.
My grandfather gave my restless ship an anchor. He gave direction to my rapid thoughts. The tree embodied his own spirit, omnipresent but never holding you back.
Today, sitting under its shadow I brood over my life so far. Remember those who left and bemoan those who never arrived. I hope the tree will remain, if nature permits, perhaps for centuries, and will continue granting stillness to those running from the future’s chaos. I pray it assuages their inner wounds too, doled out by a callous world.
A warm breeze tussles my hair and makes the leaves above rustle with delight. I’m pulled back to the present.
‘I know friend’, I muse looking up, ‘you too like the breeze as I do.’