While watching the trees outside on a rainy day, I was suddenly struck by how naked they are now. Winter is here. Snow has visited neighboring countries in this part of world but has not graced us just yet. Ah, trees. Magnificent, beautiful trees. The many lessons I learned just by watching them in their halted state and the hope they gave me when I felt restless.
Let me share an article I wrote on my blog years ago. Ï took out some parts but retained the important ones.
Written on November 12, 2012.
When I was cleaning my laptop, I stumbled upon photos that I took of Chatuchak Park in Bangkok, Thailand last year. The season was about to change then while I walked around hoping to outwit the pang in my heart that had accompanied me for the longest time.
While there, I watched the trees shed their blooms and for a moment, I thought I could hear them sigh in sadness. How magnificently proud they were just a few weeks before, standing erect with their puffs of whites, pinks, and purples; but now, they watched their beloved blooms fall on to the ground where they buried their roots or into man-made streams where stagnant water ran. When the wind blew, you could almost hear their leaves rustle softly to adamantly resist the caress that will carry their blooms away from their homes.
I thought, “Aren’t we all like these trees.” Resisting the changes that will inevitably happen to us, whining that we will never be like how we were before, and crying over what has passed which we could never alter.
We, likened to the trees, will rebel against the wind because we also cling to our blooms – the same blooms that were meant for a moment’s glory but were preformed to cloak the earth thereafter. We refused to accept the impermanence because we marveled at the beauty it brought to our state and wanted it to last forever.
But this is not so. The sooner we understand this, the better. Time will break this grandeur and disrobe you of your former glory. But do not hate time yet for it, too, will offer solace and present to you the opportunities that will grant another kind of glory. Of course, it will not be like the one you had but it will be notable just the same.
Sometimes, you will be allowed to renew yourself and grow the similar-colored blooms as last year’s but the experience will never be the same. On other times, like a naked tree during winter, you will be majestic with your dark bark amidst the snow. On rare days, you will be one of the lucky few who will be hacked and sheared to be molded into something else so fire can burn, so homes can be built, so families can enjoy a meal on one table, so lovers can send letters, so children can write, so leaders can sit together whilst discussing the world’s well-being, and so history can be remembered.
The truth is, we don’t know what time will bring. We will have no means to take a glimpse at our future but when it comes, we will be given a choice – the gift of free will. The will to accept the change or to stand our ground, to embrace the new or to linger in the past, to be who we should be or to stay as who we were. Whatever our choice is, the change will happen at some point and our only responsibility is to take courage for every wave of transformation that will come our way.
Thank you trees for teaching me this lesson.