Under The Greenwood Tree

Our mud hut is quite close to the forests,my mother often sends me there to get wood so that we can make fire.This happened once when I did go for some.The winter months had begun.We needed extra logs to keep us warm in the coldness and it would make her happy if I could get ourselves more, thinking so I walked away making my own path in the thickets deep.The clouds grew darker and the light stopped filtering through them.Dusk crawled in and I finally realized that I was lost.I forgot to look back since I was busy making my stack more huge all the way.

Pitter patter, I heard the rain fall in a hundred drops.It made me think of home.For a moment I stood there in a freeze unaware of what to do in the pitch darkness that surrounded me.But surprisingly fear did not invade me, there was something alluring about the place.I decided to walk more, wherever it took me.My feet turned wet and dirty while my heart was cleaned of all its uneasiness.I knew not where I was, but I was thrilled to become a part of the place.

I reached an open hillock in the middle of which was a towering tree, the greenest I did ever see.She called me with a pleasing stare and pulled me into her light breeze.I ran and stood under her,admiring the welcoming grandeur.When the storms of the skies grew in rage she seemed to lend me all her shade to keep me safe and sound.

Suddenly I heard a whisper in the air saying”Oh little girl, what brings you here?”.I wondered if I heard it right, yes I did.Good heavens she could talk!No wonder her stupefying calmness made me feel special right from the moment my eyes fell on her.I replied”Here for some wood,I did not make many and looks like I have lost my way!But why are you here in the middle of nowhere?”.She gave me a smirk and said “Maybe to help you”.

Somehow the drizzling tempest seemed to last, so she let me stay with her through the night and said”Worry not when I am here.You can take my twigs and branches and sleep here till morning.I am a home to many,you are free to make me yours too!”

In relief I sat there on the grass beneath with my back resting on her.We talked about the old tales of the wild and the many weathers that she met in a year.She told me about the lions,the deers,the peacocks,the owls,the butterflies and the many men who rested in her bosom.I was more than glad for having been stranded with her.I heard things that nobody ever could share and I absorbed all that she said.She was content with simple pleasures,nothing of nature troubled her because all her life there was were she belonged.

Picking the crimson florets I asked her in a bewilderment”What keeps you so fresh,so green,so supple yet so strong?”.She replied with a twinkling smile,

“A pinch of white from your frock O’ pretty dame

Rays of a light yellow from our sun’s fiery flame

A red from my fruits that in the springs do crop

Grey from the clouds that travel on my roof top

A heap of brown from the soil holding my earth

Colors these bring in my life the greenest mirth”

It felt like she knew that I would come one day,for her I was not just another passerby.It made me love her more.Like long lost friends of the forests we sang in the silence of the night making tunes that could wake up the sleeping heaven,hell and the world in between.Time passed like the flowing stream and a beacon of light arrived with the dawn.I could see the way back to my hut,a home I would never want to lose.And touch wood I now had two!I hugged her for the delightful peace and time we spent together.I so wished I could listen and be with her for more.I left thinking in glee and promised her to be back when I am not just lost sooner than some day again.

Raksha Bhatt