A friend lost

Kiran Fatima Zaidi
Posted February 22, 2021
The tree now
What is left of that huge tree

Once upon a time, there was a tree right besides an apartment building, a bit apart from the woodland behind it. An alpine tree it was. When it rained, the droplets rolled down its bark or held on to the tips of its spiky needles. While it snowed, a squirrel sat on its branch with its tail wrapped up to its head, perhaps it felt safe compared to being under the open sky. A half dead tree it was but it still looked green when the woodland looked barren. It was an ever-green tree to say so, but let me tell you that it also had days when it turned pale. What made it different was its pace at which it recovered itself back. 

 

So many birds sat on it at leisure. Cardinals, jays, nuthatches, robins, doves, sparrows. It was as if everyone loved that tree. What a sight it was to find a beautiful bird perched right outside one’s window, so close as though the only thing that separated one from it was the window pane. 

 

The woodland next to the apartments was huge, but no tree was as close to it as that, or it seemed so from the window. One considered it an integrated part of the residence. It was this amazing thing about the tree, that it let the residents of the apartments be so close to the animals and the birds and yet far enough to be able to harm them. It was fun to visit the safari parks, but it was just charming to see nature in its original state; nothing being artificial or superficial about it.

 

 

One morning, some uniform workers hung ropes and some tools onto that tree and one more near by and began chopping it down. Branch by branch, they brought it down. Those who saw it from their window every morning, they helplessly stood and watched it being brought down, along with probably the birds. These individuals really wanted to stop what was happening, but what could they really do? The apartment management had asked it for. They wanted to repaint the building and the tree caused space problems perhaps, so in order to renovate the exteriors, they decided to bring down a tree maybe far older than the apartments themselves. And so they just stood and gritted their teeth. As they went to bed, it felt unreal that it had actually happened.

 

It was ironic, to find the barks of the tree that soared high in the sky, then on the ground next day. During winter, one looked at the barren woodland and missed the little hint of green that the tree used to maintain every year. When it snowed, one worried about the squirrel. One recalled about how the snow left a white outline on the brown branches of the tree. 

 

Each time a tree is chopped off, people have a reason behind it. There is need of more houses, malls, schools, factory, etc, etc. Pardon me if I say so that to me they don't sound like reasons, but in fact excuses. Or perhaps ignorance. They bring down a tree that can live for a 1000 year for people who live in this world for a few hundred years; people who cannot do as much as the tree can do for them and for the planet!

This story was submitted in response to Protecting Our Planet.

Comments 9

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Nini Mappo
Feb 23
Feb 23

Hello Kiran,
I red your story and the first word that came to mind was 'tree-hugger', because of the warmth and friendship expressed towards the tree. It is wonderful to see the tree through your eyes, and see all these merits to the tree and its place in supporting the ecosystem, including emotional well being of its human neighbours, that the other people who cut it did did not. There is indeed ignorance a plenty about trees and nature, and the more stories like this that reach people, the less the ignorance will thrive.
Thank you for sharing. I feel sorry for the squirrel too :(

Kiran Fatima Zaidi
Feb 24
Feb 24

Thank You for reading and I'm glad that you understand!

Tamarack Verrall
Feb 23
Feb 23

Dear Kiran,
I love trees, and get so much strength and peace from them. I have a tree just outside my apartment and if this happened to "my' tree, as I believe so many feel about the trees they are graced with, my heart would feel broken. I love your story and your recognition of the importance of this tree, and I love your bigger message about us as people looking at our priorities, and at how we are in relation to our planet Earth. Thank you for this.

Another "tree hugger",
Tam

Kiran Fatima Zaidi
Feb 25
Feb 25

So glad to read from you. I'd love it if you could think of a way we can stop someone from killing trees at least those near us

jomarieb.earth
Mar 01
Mar 01

Dear Kiran,
I feel this story deeply and personally. I watched the murder of an enormous tree across the street from me. I was so upset. I'm still upset about it. And it's been 5 years. I called it the Avatar tree, like the tree in the movie Avatar. It was huge, with a community of birds and squirrels. Every morning they woke me up with their chirps and chatter. It was like a housing project for small, lovely animal families. Then the establishment knocked it down to save the pipes from the roots, or prevent it from destroying a house during an earthquake. Some sort of reason that was unjust. I was so upset. I called my birds and squirrels the neighborhood's refugees. The following Spring they made their way to other trees nearby, and I got to hear them sing again. But not as loud and wonderful. Perhaps the people cut it down because it was loud and wonderful. Thanks for this. It shows how small and how much the same the world is everywhere. We share the same story.
Hugs...JoMarie

Oh, wow, so nice to know that, JoMarie. That movie moved me to tears because it resonates with our country's history. It was just the other night when I asked my husband when will be the next Avatar movie, and now I see this comment. :D

Kiran Fatima Zaidi
Mar 02
Mar 02

You linked the Avatar tree so accurately! You're right, it seems unjust whatever the reason is. Somehow seems selfish, just thinking about us. And yes, the world is indeed the same and it is because factors are same.

Hello, Kiran,

You are a beautiful soul because you feel deeply. I, too, feel hurt when a tree is cut down. One life is so precious. May we don't have to sacrifice the environment in the name of industrial development. When we hurt nature, we reap consequences. I know that firsthand with our country experiencing disastrous storms and deadly floods. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

Kiran Fatima Zaidi
Mar 02
Mar 02

Thank You so much for reading and for your kind words! I hope that you with everyone else help change the thinking in your nation. Because well, one dialogue can make a huge impact. More power to you!