Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
A little creature was hiding behind a tree. He saw me coming, and he tried in vain to make himself invisible. His hair made of thistles and his eyes borrowing something from the flickering fireflies could not be missed even by an inattentive passer-by. Perhaps, he realized the uselessness of his agitation, so, he decided to ignore me and to keep busy running around the thin and wrinkled trunk of the tree, digging and scratching at its roots. Somewhat disturbed by my curious looks, he finally sniffed and puffed, and in the blink of an eye, he disappeared.
The tree’s bark cracked as if he was stretching from his sleep. Some of the branches spread sideways, and some other curved upwards shaping what seemed to be a human heart ready to pulsate life. It was then that I noticed the blackness of his bark, the bareness of his branches, the loneliness of his presence in the middle of a green field, and I felt sad thinking that I scared away his only friend thus, contributing to his solitude.
Being aware that nothing I was experiencing bordered even slightly normality, I dared asking him, “Who was that little man? Have I bothered you?”
I seemed to hear him laughing while cracking his old trunk.
“Oh, that little fellow… He tends me often, thinking that because of him I’m still alive here, in this forgotten place. Today, he set his mind on a new task: to dig a ditch for the rainwater to gather up and feed my thirsty roots for a longer while. And look, he managed to do it!” he said bursting into a coarse laughter again pointing with one of his crooked branches at his roots.
Indeed, a ditch filled with rainwater crossed half of that field stopping exactly at the feet of the tree.
“What kind of tree are you?” I continued my series of curious questions.
“I have no name! I am lost here, in my solitude. What’s the use of names? If you call me a fir tree, would I become one? If you call me a birch tree, would I become one?”
“No, I guess not!” I replied feeling the tree’s answer a little bit hostile.
He laughed again!
“Be sure I would! In your eyes, I’ll be what you call me. To myself—well, that’s a different story. I might become what you call me, or I might not. But for that ‘not becoming’ to happen, I have to be me without a name. I have to lose myself into nothingness and then, be born as myself again, I have to be nowhere to be able to get somewhere, I have to feel as having no roots to be able to grow strong roots. I have to have no name.”
I thought how many times, we, human beings, let ourselves influenced by other people’s opinions, how many times we become what they perceive us to be even if, deep inside us, there is a tremendous struggle between the reflected image and who we really are. We find a way of muffling those war cries and smoothly, unwarily, we become the labels stuck on us by others. “If they think I am like that, then, I’ll act as such! Why bother to show them the real me?” With these words we start the journey of the victim, of being comfortable doing nothing, of the one belonging to the crowds.
“Don’t you feel lonely here, abandoned to the whims of Nature?”
“Oh, why? Because in your view loneliness means not being with your kind in a thick forest?” he laughed again and stretched a little bit more his branches. “My purpose steals away my loneliness. Here, I offer shade to the needy, shelter to the tired, food for the winged ones, and a meaning to the existence of that little creature you saw. I’m always surrounded by life whereas in a forest I’d be always wishing for and dreaming of experiencing what I’ve been given here. Find the strength to see the meaning, the essence of your life, to keep at it, and you’ll never be lonely one second again!”
“Is that why your branches take the shape of a human heart?” I asked pointing to the upper part of his crown.
“A human heart… Hm!” he laughed. “It is the heart of the rain that feeds me, it is the heart of the earth that keeps me strong, it is the heart of the sky that shelters me, it is the heart of the creatures I help in my turn, it is your heart that loves me. It beats on the rhythms of all hearts, and it takes the shape of the heart that watches it with eyes open to wonder.”
Drops of rain started falling, and the tree waved his branches in the soft wind. The heart was still there, and as I furthered, at its center, I saw, nestled, the creature staring at me with his firefly eyes. And something in that little light in his eyes right at the center of the branch heart made me feel that he existed inside me, too, in all of us. It is the thin, unbreakable light thread that connects us with the sturdiness and resolution of that tree, with the sky that shelters us, with the earth that feeds us, with each other. It is the fire that allows us to fly.
The creature evaporated through the raindrops. The tree resumed its silent contemplation. My heart throbbed as if touched by warm currents coming from afar. It felt things that eluded my senses, and it grew one wing, waiting for the other to sprout in flight, a flight that will take place when I have no name, when I belong to nowhere, when I am one with the winds.
Illusion and reality. Magic and lonely trees. Fire flight and thistles. Life with a purpose.
© Copyright 2014 Irina Serban. All rights reserved