SHOVNA

Leaves & Lives – random thoughts.

I was one of those lucky kids who grew up in a place surrounded by lots and lots of trees all around a little house in the heart of Kathmandu, Nepal.  I could sit for hours on a branch of a tree and observe butterflies, bees, jackals, serpents, lizards, bats, and several other birds.  That may be the reason that I am in a world of my own even today when I am in the jungles.

Now where I live, like in every other cities, life is moving fast and we hardly get time to sit and look at random things. Even if we take out some time to look around, we see buildings after buildings and the noise and air pollution all around us that make us hurry back inside. Modern day inventions have made life easier and some have now become necessities too, but we could do with less use of some, because we have stopped looking around, we have stopped seeing, we have stopped watching. Out in the wilderness, instead of noise we have sweet music of nature and that is where I give time to myself, time to look, to see, to watch around, even at leaves – which may seem like mundane things to some.

This time when I was in one of the jungles, every afternoon between safaris, I used to lie down on the balcony cot and read. One afternoon after I finished reading, I kept the book down on the table and looked around. After being there for several days, it was for the first time that I saw, because I looked and watched.

As I lazed on a cot that warm afternoon,  I watched the leaves falling from the branches of the trees.  You might say that everyone has seen leaves falling sometime or the other in our lives, what is so great about them. I too have seen them…seen them fall several times, but I had never watched them.

When I watched I saw that the fallen leaves were a show of colours in all hues of reds, yellows and browns, carpeting the ground.   I looked up at a big tree and saw that the old leaves were giving way to new shoots that were pushing out.  Some leaves fell straight to the ground, as if in a hurry. As if they were longing for those who had departed earlier, thus the rush to meet them when they were still there, before those on the ground turned into dust.

Some fell spiraling down – dancing along the way to kiss the earth, happy to be joining their own, to be together at the final destination, to turn to dust in union.

Some gave the impression like they did not want to go, not just yet, therefore, they needed a little cajoling from the soft breeze, so instead of falling down, with a gusto they shot right above, towards the sky, much above from where they were hanging. Then they gave a performance of their lifetime, by doing a ballet against the blue sky, turning round and round, with the tip facing the earth like a ballerina on her toes,  floating gracefully every now and then. Finally when they came down, they did the rock and roll, slowly rocking from side to side, swaying left to right, taking their own sweet time to meet the earth, to turn to dust along with their own.

The huge tree grew from a little seed or a sapling, pushing its way from the earth.  The earth nourished it all through the years, making it tall and mighty and will nourish it till the end. As the tree grew, the branches reached out to the sky from all sides and as a repayment to the earth who brought it up it gave back to others by becoming home to mammals, birds and insects.  It gave protection from rain and shine to all those who came for refuge and provided food for the hungry souls.

Every year trees give back to the earth a part of them – the leaves – and in the end themselves.  The leaves make way for new shoots and returns to Mother Earth to be a part of her –from dust to dust, from soil to soil, from earth to earth.

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