Trees are companions. The silent ones, whose presence is felt, not heard; whose presence holds different meanings for its beholders. Each tree has its own story to tell, let it be a short memoir, or a long history, trees tell stories to those who are willing to listen. This here is our story.
I had a beautiful tree, it was green, tall and perfect, but most importantly it was mine. I planted its seed almost a decade ago, and then we both grew together. I watered it while its roots were learning to search for that essential fluid. I remember crossing the street each morning supporting a sloshing, dripping bucket with my grandfather or my mother, who pointed out different things to me, ensuring that my tree wasn’t the only one who learnt new tricks and tips.
Swiftly and silently time flew by, and both of us grew, me into my teenage years and my tree, higher than any other in the whole street. I used to talk to it, in my head, telling it my stories and listened while it whispered back to me, sometimes replies in forms of shaking branches and rustling leaves. On weekdays, often was my norm to wake up in the wee hours of morning, to simply watch the world as it woke, and always my tree was there to watch with me. When I sat down to write poems, or something that meant a lot to me, I always sat by my windowsill and faced my tree, and somehow it always helped me think and organize my thoughts. Sometimes when I would pass by my tree, I would stop and feel the rough bark that coated it, and hug it, and feel strangely lighter after doing so.
It warmed my heart to see my tree becoming an asset to society, as in the blistering heat of Karachi; it would also provide shade to dusty vendors, and wandering animals. Young boys in the street would hang on its thick branches, and crows would make it their home. In springtime it would grow the sweetest smelling flowers, which I would present to my mother to hang in our kitchen. During Eid time, we would all collect near its base, as that’s where our sacrificial animals used to be tied up.
Throughout my life, my tree had been my companion. Even when life got tough, and I would not be near it, I felt its presence- and the fact that it was there; from the start of my journey in life warmed my heart like nothing else. And then one day it was gone.
I got home from college that fateful day to find it chopped up, its trunk with its branches shaved off and lying on the ground, unattached. In those defeated hues of green, I saw red. That was my companion they murdered for wood. That was my companion they dissected and sold. That was my companion who is no more, killed by ambitious men who unwittingly committed the greatest sin by letting greed overcome their senses. Who cuts trees, which have so much to offer this world, and want back so little?