The grass was tall where the tree stood, young, proud and green. Birds of every hue chose him to sit on..it was said he who had the privilege of sitting on the ‘green tree’ sang the sweetest. The Mynahs, the Blue and Gold Macaws, the Nightingales, they all tried their luck with the tree. But this handsome pompous creature hated the sight of the birds. They were messy he thought; besides they did not understand music. They only knew how to sing, in their pompous voices singing for the world to listen to them, but none sang for itself..the song of love, the song that would have a sway of its own, that would make one feel alive from the very insides and wish to dance in total abandon of oneself, the Gods and whosoever had the privilege to see them. The birds gossiped, ‘he has no respect for songs’, ‘he doesn’t bend’..what use is such a tree?
In the stillness of its waters, the little pond was the only one the tree could talk to. And they talked for hours, of faraway lands, where the pond dreamt of its waters reaching one day and mixing into the mighty body called ocean that he had only heard about, and yet the pond seemed to be in no hurry. In fact, secretly it wanted to go nowhere perhaps because once out of the safe heavens of what one called home, coming back would be impossible it knew..too much of meandering would develop waves in the pond that its simplistic mind refused to understand or comprehend. It told about its fears to the tree, which nodded but wished that the pond would be slightly more adventurous. He told the pond that one day it would find such a tremendous reason and urge that would make it leave its safe heavens to explore and seek the ocean. He said one day when I find love, when I find music, I shall bend, shed my leaves, if necessary even crack to have that one touch of that which I would wish and want so much of. The pond was surprised, how could the tree, who the birds said had no love for songs know that it would fall in love so passionately, so wonderfully and be ready to even die for?
‘How shall you know, asked the pond, when that special being would arrive?’ I shall, said the tree, in a wave of shimmery happiness, our rhythm and tunes shall match. If she reaches out, I shall bend..if she glides, I shall be the boat that she shall ride. ..together we shall ride in a rhythm that life has pre-decided and in that there shall be such harmony, such joy that ‘ we shall know, at once’.
It was autumn and the cold setting in, left everyone shivering and irritated. The birds had stopped their vanity songs and reserved them for the pleasant chimes of Spring. The trees had shed their leaves. But to everyone’s amazement, the ‘green tree’ did not shed its leaves. What are you waiting for asked, the trees around it. ‘She shall come’, said he. The pond requested him, “please shed your leaves my friend, you must make way for new leaves’..But the tree stood its ground, obstinate that when she came, he would bend and shower her with his green beautiful leaves and she would look up at him, at the rainbow of leaves fluttering down to welcome her and dance in their joy…The months passed, no one came. The birds stopped visiting the tree, they had once so coveted, he had become an out caste for believing in the stupidity that his dream would be a reality..dreams were figments of the imagination, believing in them, made life difficult. Besides what good were such dreams, when they promised nothing but the fascination of something far off, something that one might never be able to call as their own. The tree looked old, its sheen was gone, so was its greenery, it looked tired..the trunk had dark patches around it, in many places, the bark had peeled off..the leaves he had so talked about had all but gone..and yet every time the winds changed, something happened to the tree..something so weird..it was as if the whole tree now full of brown and black, suddenly came alive. The birds disgustingly nodded their head in gravity that it was the stupid disease called ‘hope’..something that no one emerged from alive they said.
In one end of the pond, a pair of blue wings and red eyes looked on carefully at a small fuzzy ball of gossamer that finally seemed to be moving. She flapped her delicate wings loudly, as if in signal of some miracle about to happen..suddenly the entire of the grassland enclosing the pond seemed to be magically filled with a spurt of color! Blue, pink, purple, emerald, red..you name it they were there..happily flapping their little wings at the expectant coming of the grandest one among them. The queen mother, waving her gentle tendrils in excitement just knew it..the princess that the cocoon would reveal would outdo the colors of the rainbow..a befitting one for the world to admire! The coldness of the day and the breeze had no affect on the hundreds of butterflies gathered to celebrate the blossoming of the one cocoon, they knew would outdo all of them put together…The little cocoon shook..the threads tore..struggling to reveal what was within.. a chilly wind blew..freezing everyone’s bones..the birds huddled together.. The ‘Green tree’ now brown, stretched his arms..in a desperate want..waiting since centuries for that one final embrace..The gossamer threads broke, a little black antenna waved out..a little white body stretched out..sleeping since ages..it now wanted to fly…WHITE!..shrieked the butterflies..in deathly pale unison! She was white..how could she. They looked at the queen, who shuddered in horrific disgust. Spreading baby wings, the angel in white looked at her friends of every color..from hatred, to disgust, to ridicule..they were all there..she looked at her mother..she was colored with shame..the little one looked at herself..what had happened, what was wrong with her? In the shimmer of the water close by she saw her own color of sadness..and how she was born to it….In regal sweep of final dignity, she made gentle sweep of the silver dusted feathers and rose to the skies..as if begging for answers. From the corner of her eye, she spied a tiny little leaf brown in color hanging from the branches of what seemed to be a weary tree. As she looked, she felt drawn to the brown leaf..it was as if reaching there would give her the colors she needed to be complete..Unashamed in it's brown-ness, it seemed to match her simple beauty. She flapped her wings high, struggling for breath of the new born, to reach the promise of a land she had not yet tasted, or been happy in.
In sudden jerk of that dreadful word that the birds had called ‘hope’, the tree felt as if something was approaching it stealthily..and yet with great speed..it stretched its branches wide out in the air..arms flung in hope to the almighty..let her be there! In sudden hush of things gone right, a tingling vision in white seemed to arise before him..she was tiny, fairy like, delicate and beautiful and yet she looked sad..he clutched his heart
My love..we have been sleeping since ages
Not knowing a presence called US
Today I awake to a presence called you..
And shall perhaps never sleep again
Yesterday you did not exist..today no one else does
The ‘green tree’ woke up, all its dreams of the forbidden embrace alive..and yet his vision in white, she was falling, twirling down as if from the ecstasy of heavens that she had tried to reach in her search for the little brown leaf down into the abysses of color…. It was then that he knew as if in a sudden knowledge that only love could afford..how he would bend and reach to her….as she fell..this little white one from the heavens..the tree shook..what was left of its haggard old bark, with all the strength that it could muster. Down it came, in graceful fall the little tiny leaf that she had so desired..it spiraled..slowly..in a passionate dance of its own..carrying with it the yearning of the years of love, that the tree had harbored..Spiraled by the youthful green of love, it flew down from its lofty heights, in brown elegance..bending in grace to hold in love the little body in white that helplessly floated down..suddenly the butterfly in white was alone no longer..the immense hands of brown love had held her in their graying passionate embrace..in a dance so beautiful that she flitted, a bit or two..glided over, changed directions..brushed passed the tree..kissing it in passionate frenzy of lovers so old that none could wait any longer…to merge into the other.
The winds had stopped blowing, the birds no longer cried, the pond was still with open arms as he awaited his friend’s love to alight..with the gentle grace of nature waiting patiently for the bud to open, the eggs to hatch and the bees to buzz..the little brown leaf danced into its final glide onto the still waters of the pond. It was a passionate embrace of love, no one had imagined possible..the tree had bend, the last leaf had fallen and the hope that made the ‘Green tree’ green was alive again.
In the mutual dance of lovers in perfect rhythm..the fog lifted that chilly wintry morning to reveal a haze of sun over the pond..where every butterfly, bird and tree watched the little white one glide on the hope of brown..it was a scene that no bird or butterfly would forget in their lifetime..as the still waters of the pond..shone in a silvery carriage taking the lovers down to meet the ocean….
© 2011 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury