“A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees. Forests create climate, climate influences peoples’ character, and so on and so forth. There can be neither civilization nor happiness if forests crash down under the axe, if the climate is harsh and severe, if people are also harsh and severe…. What a terrible future!”
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860–1904)
“Letter to A.S. Suvorin”
October 18, 1888
It was less than a metre high when I planted it beside the house. Like the rambutan tree, it did not grow any bigger for a very long time. Time passed and yet it remained the same size – but it did not die. Some people told me that it was because the ground was too hard. I had bought the house second-hand, so I guess the soil had settled and hardened over the years.
Then suddenly, it grew…and grew. Today, it is very big and though it isn’t much to look at, at least, it provides shade from the afternoon/evening sun and ever so often, it would flower…
– little white flowers with petals so delicate that should you try to cut the stems, all of them would drop off instantly. So sticking them in a vase for display to beautify the house is out of the question. But the flowers give out a very pleasant fragrance that fills the air that may be detected even from far.
Ever so often, I would see little bees and insects fluttering from flower to flower and on more than one occasion, I have found some dried, deserted bird’s nests among the branches.
All things considered, it may not be like one of those impressive and attractive plants but it has its own purposes being there – providing shade against the hot sun, giving food to the bees and shelter to the birds…and above all that, it contributes to the conservation of our environment as it helps balance the eco-system by absorbing carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen.
Yan quoted this African proverb in her recent post:
“When you plant a tree, never plant only one. Plant three – one for shade, one for fruit, one for beauty.”
So, in a way, my father had given me a tree for shade and one for fruit. He did give me a pomegranate (buah delima) tree too and like the other two trees, it struggled to survive. It did not die either – the leaves were sparse and yet ever so often, it would flower – beautiful red flowers and then, it would bear fruit. We did not like to eat the fruits, so they would just ripen and rot and drop to the ground eventually. However, it looked so miserably scrawny and pathetic that in the end, my missus got rid of it…Sigh!
Anyway, talking about trees reminds me of this old Chinese favourite of mine. I used to know how to play the chords on the guitar:
Happy listening, and do have a great week ahead!