Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beauty and Child

My name is Beauty and in two days, I would be 200 years old. Actually I am a tree
As an old tree, my years have witnessed series of events played by man and fate. I was here when cursed with hatred, ambition and fear, Hitler sought to put the world in chain. Oh yes, I was here when tribal war crushed the backbone of a nation. I saw it all, the pain, the blood and the betrayal. And at such times, I had to wonder why man refused to be like the trees, peaceful and contented?
Beauty, what a name. It was given to me by someone I loved and who I wish could have lived forever. Unfortunately, he died a week ago and I would forever mourn his mortality.
So many years ago, something happened that I will never forget. That morning, I woke not only to the sweet caress of the early morning dew but also to the piercing cry of an infant. It could not be more than a day old and there it was helplessly naked in the frosty cold. Moved to tears, I shielded the precious thing with the best of me. It was calling for love and I had to heed the call. I took care of it as if it was mine; I was glad it survived. I named the strong lively boy Child.
Child was a joy to my heart. His laughter made me smile and his tears made me cry. He loved playing on my branches, feasting without care on my fruits. I thought this would go on forever until he told me one day that he was going away.
I was sorrowful. “Why are you going away? Have I hurt you?”
“Oh no Beauty, you have been more than a mother to me. I just feel am old enough to take care of myself.”
“I am going to miss you.”
“Me too.” He said and left.
For a very long time, I heard nothing from Child. I was almost giving up hope of seeing him again until one sunny afternoon. I looked across the street and saw a tired looking middle-aged man walked by. I recognized him immediately. It was Child!
“Child.” I called out to him. “Why not come and play with me like the good old days?”
When he moved closer, I realized he was really sad. I asked him why.
“Life is hard Beauty. I have just lost my job and I need some money to start a business.”
I felt his pain right away.
“Don’t worry, Child. Look, I have so many fruits. Go ahead and plucked them all. Sell them and the money is yours.”
He was so happy. He came back the next day and all the fruits were plucked. He went away with lots of money in his pocket and I was glad.
I didn’t see Child again until fifteen years later. Now, quite elderly, I need not call out to him. He came to me.
“Hi Beauty, thanks for the last time.”
“It is all right child. So, how are you doing?”
“I am fine.”
“Except…” I said and he laughed.
“Except that I am yet to fulfill my childhood dream of sailing round the world.”
“That is not a problem, Child. Why not cut some of my branches and make for your yourself a ship?”
“Beauty, won’t that be too costly for you?”
“Don’t worry. I would sure grow again. What matters is your happiness.”
With a grateful heart, he built for himself a ship and sailed away. Of course I was happy. Finally, Child was going to have his childhood dream come true.
And so time, like the wave of the sea, moved to and fro. Child came back an old man. He limped, supporting himself with a walking stick and brimming with grey. I hardly recognized the ninety five year old Child.
“Oh Child. You are so old.”
“And weak too, Beauty. I only have one wish: rest. Success and life are too burdensome.”
“Why not come over here and rest? My branches would shield you from the sun.”
He did just that and I was glad. He passed away recently and already, I am missing him.
But then, there are so many trees out there giving their time, fruits and tears to nurture so many more Child.
Am glad to be one of them.