I am the forest, writing on be…

11 November 2018

I am the forest, writing on behalf of my mute children whom you have pledged to clear from existence. I address this not to the people who breathe with iron lungs nor to the people who feel with metallic hearts but to the last living remnant of compassion and humanity in each one of you. Hope you have enough clean air to breathe when you read this, because I don’t. Have you ever wondered what my children, the trees would say if they could speak? They are sad, angry, disappointed yet somehow manage to be compassionate and forgiving, which is truly the saddest of all. My children watch while you cut down their siblings. You merciless humans, plow down such beautiful creations, and all for what? A little more elbow room? You deprive them of their basic needs; obstruct their path to find water with your plastic wastes.

They suffocate themselves so that you can breathe without any obstructions.

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You don’t even let them mourn in peace. That is what happens in autumn. Perhaps when my children shed their leaves, they are weeping for all they have lost, all they have been unjustly robbed off as you just watch them wail. You watch them mourn and you think that it’s beautiful.You, who are destroyers at heart, riot through life with torches and pitchforks in your hands, leaving bones and fire and rotting flesh in your wake. It is a shame that we have to face your gratuitous wrath.

If only my children could speak. If only they could testify you. If only they could be granted justice. If only they could strike back. Broken shrieks of despair and fury would erupt from their throats. “We were here first”, “You haven’t the right”, “After all we have done for you”, they would say. Their branches would blaze with fire, rage dancing in the flames as you steal their existence, leaving only a stump of life before swiping that away, too.

Lifeless bare branches would cast their haunting shadows over the ground, wishing they could trap you in their livid hold. Take my word. They could trample you; they would win and I would be glad when they do.Humans are the most disappointing creation. Trees, after all of their long years, would be wise enough to realize this. Pride and greed blind you, and you do not see past your selfish needs. The green monster in your heads sputters out demands for more, more, more.

The trees only give. They provide oxygen and shade and something truly beautiful to look at. If they could speak, they would say, “You should all be ashamed of yourselves”. And you should be.Despite all that you are guilty of, the trees express compassion. They give you shade when you are too hot. They stand over you like watchdogs, wishing away the heat.

Even so, you complain of the uncomfortable ground that they reside in. You ungrateful beasts, even when they let you ogle at their beauty while they are weeping in the sad autumn months asking what they did to deserve their undoing, they allow you to scrape together the remains of their grief and they only watch as you have the audacity to play with their leaves as if they came from joy.My children are so forgiving. It is a mystery to me, why they excuse you after all that you have done. They mourn in autumn, thrive in summer and become leafless and lifeless in winter. Yet spring will always come again, without fail. My children will forgive you, it is in their nature.

They will bloom for you again, and you will remain oblivious to the absolution they grant you. Their leaves will stretch down, offering a gentle caress that can only be saying: “We forgive you”. I wish they were not so kind. You do not deserve their mercy. Perhaps that is why trees are so much taller than you. They tower over you and you are forced to look up at them. No wonder you are so small.

As your fellow human, Maggie Stiefvater said, “If I were a tree, I would have no reason to love a human”, and yes, my children have no reason to love you, to purify the air you breathe, to give you shade, wood or their products. Yet, they do. They love you and let you rejoice at the cost of their sorrow.Who has not looked on the flowering laburnum and laughed in sheer joy? Who has not watched the red orange burst of the flame of the forest and been inspired? Who has not stolen mangoes, climbed banyans and tamarind trees and then taken respite in the shade? Can you ever just look at a tree in its prime, with the wind in its leaves, or the light spilling through its branches, or the rain sweeping down its trunk and not be moved? How can one not feel protective of a young gentle sapling struggling in a storm, knowing it has a long way to go?One blessed human, Rabindranath Tagore, wrote:”The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow. I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.

And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.”If that remnant of compassion still remains alive within you, leave us alone. Start recycling paper. Reduce pollution. We cannot take more of your toxins. Come to us for the products we willingly give you. Don’t force my children to consume your artificial fertilizers.

To build your houses, you have destroyed the homes of my animal friends. Let them survive. Don’t make them suffer the same fate we were doomed to so far. We share the same space that the Mother Earth has graciously given us. Let us not compete, because whoever wins, it will be you who will take up the heavier losses.

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