Ochre leaves of sky-pointing Pine trees and the wind swept alleys at the outbreak of a nippy crimson autumn, revive our mellow association with nature at this time each year. How nature has enamored the old and young, man, woman and child, artists and intellectuals alike, has been an ethereal mystery through the passage of time! Majestic Ashoka and Gulmohar trees lining the hallowed portals of national monuments, institutions, parks and residential areas, effortlessly provide much more than a serene ambience, greenery and placid surroundings. Gradually, they permeate our lives entirely, just as they supply the oxygen for it.
And so, to hear from my mother some nostalgia-laced anecdotes from her childhood days, about a mighty umbrageous mango tree thronged at by her and her four siblings, is an engaging experience. That the mighty tree occupied a special place in their hearts, was quite evident from the sparkle in her eyes we always came upon when she gleefully narrated how the servants would be instructed to distribute the many kilos of mangoes, to all and sundry, which included envious neighbors and distant relatives, after our grandmother had prudently used the bounty to make pickles, chutneys and tangy juices.
Appreciating our modest little garden where I would pamper the small jasmine tree and my sister tend to the dainty papaya tree, our father could never help but remember fondly the splendid jamun tree from which he and his cousins plucked tiny berries and the Imperial mulberry tree-a sport and relaxation hub during summer vacations in Nimach, where our grandfather was posted as a Collector for the Government of India. More than the schools, it is trees that invariably grab mention in conversations across two or even three generations.
Stories have revolved around these fruit and flower-bearing pillars, through mythology, music, dance and drama. Who can forget the heavily-bearded sages of yore addressing their students under the verdant shade of the Banyan tree, pontificating on the truths of life on television mega epics. With man’s need for natural resources growing, and a heightened rate of deforestation unleashing a catastrophically harmful effect on World climate, planting of tender saplings by school children and in Nature Clubs makes us adhere to our promise of a Greener Earth for the future generations.
Snappy environs boasting of symmetrical, ornamental leaves, dangling out from a grand, kingly bark do not just reinforce the beauty and mystique of all creation. They comfort our senses, by infusing a breath of fresh air to our suffocating life schedules. Soaring Deodar trees nestling in the Himalayas, and the pretty palm trees standing tall along the country’s coastline beckon tourists in thousands, as do Sanctuaries and Amusement parks where children caper and careen excitedly to the many splendors of nature. Sal, Teak, Evergreen conifers, overarching Oaks enlivening a green canopy along with thousands of local and hybrid varieties beautifully add to the picturesque floral biodiversity. How every twig, each leaf turns out useful for the various constituents of the ecosystem amazes me no end.
Villages score over cities on numerous counts when it comes to breathtaking scenery, but with ingenious landscape architects designing our cities and small towns, we have much to look forward to.
Generations, Empires and Eras go and come, but trees (that is only if we let them!) stand as permanent witnesses-of times and events that shape our life each day. They calm our senses, refreshing us, standing as friends always there for us to trestle on, children to make merry around and birds to enjoy an afternoon siesta leisurely on a massive green umbrella.
As breathing witnesses, to times gone by and those yet to come, trees are timeless. Their significance defines the importance of Nature itself.
Tirelessly, trees draw us to our own earthy existence reminding us that they outlive many of God’s creations, in the sands of time, by a few years, giving all that they are endowed with, without expecting anything in return for their generosity to one and all.
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