Someone asked me once to talk about the tree, just some conversation as I tend to go mute for long hours (the silence could be for days and I need a jolt from it.)
But then there are thoughts; mere thoughts.
It’s not just leaves and brown really. If I did start talking about the tree I would really speak of everything else but the tree. It’s just like you ask someone of love and they tell you a sad story. But I was asked about a tree and I couldn’t just speak of the green and the bark. Because I’d want something more to it- the catalysts to complete ‘the tree’. And the catalysts don’t count as trees.
I’d want to talk of them far off on the hills in front of us with the falls concealed within them and wonder of the witches and hermits that reside taking in the old adages and wisdom they have to offer.
I would talk of the prodigious details; the foreign sounds, the fallen trees; one almost making a bridge in the deep trench, the sunlight stealing through the trunks. The little fur balls that perhaps flee at the sound of the rustling bushes, the silence- oh the silence I would love to talk about that.
And all of this, dependent, inter-woven, all of it- deceiving!
It would go on to abstracts.
I would talk about the whispers of the world in their highest boughs and the roots stretching into galaxies we’ll never know of. And then there’d be a conversation shift and you’d talk of how humans connect, perhaps through memories which form roots which will then stretch into galaxies forming a soul-connection. And when we remember the other that’d be the connection of ‘our roots’.
I’d tell you about the holiness within the trees and how it emits life more than just through oxygen, how it’s a circle and I’d talk of ‘The Lion King’ and ‘the lion eat the antelope and the antelope eat the grass and when the antelopes die they become the grass’… Still not about a tree!
I’ll tell you it’s a God and we’ll argue that I’ve denied the existence of God previously and then I’ll tell you it’s easier to say I don’t believe because beliefs are personal.
Perhaps then of deforestation but then it’ll again come down to human greed but then it’ll tell of histories etched in its’ ringlets of years; the happiness and the storms.
A witch once told me that the tree with the narrowest rings is the hardest and noblest, but how would she know if she hadn’t cut it down herself. But then my thoughts would wander off to the trees concealing the falls high up in the contours, the ones untouched, the indestructible ones, the ideal ones, perhaps; that inspire most words and hide the deadliest secrets.
They are the sanctuaries of life and I wonder if I’ll really ever sit down and talk to them, they know of a thousand years and perhaps they will tell me of the ancient laws of life. And then a gasp; when they tell you of the year long winter when they were just seeds, that they kept their bodies as temples when we humans just merely said it (‘our bodies are temples’). They will tell of the whispering winds that brought news from oceans across of how humans invaded the temples and charred their grounds. They will tell of how once the Western Winds had a quarrel with them, almost a war, like lovers fighting and reconciling. The trees tell me how she was calmer the next time she arrived, almost dead. But with a sigh they also tell that the realm of men had invaded her temple too. And being in the holy labour to Mother Earth they couldn’t do anything to help.
They teach me more than just that, it’s of home they talk about the most. Right here on these grounds and of the home within me.
“Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.”
And perhaps we all could just listen to them, like I was listening then, and I realized I had said none of it aloud. For I didn’t just want to speak of a tree but everything else but you just asked me of a tree.
Or should I talk of the dead tree in front of my house or maybe it isn’t and is just pretending to be dead and letting the woodpeckers perch on it and listen to their gossip of the hills across. Perhaps it was wiser, shedding away its’ leaves earlier for it became well aware of the world long before I did. So it’s just standing there mocking, for it fulfilled its’ purpose. And we are still dangling in the rat race. Still I haven’t spoken of a tree.
And then I’d think of the cactus in the desert, the most anti-social plant which grows alone and yet asks us not to come near it.
And still I can’t talk about just a tree.