“There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.“


For the last week I have been surrounded by trees in a garden and a ‘wall of trees’ a collection of tree embroideries, weaves, paintings, ceramics, photographs and more at my friend Parvati’s home in Madh Island, a Mumbai suburb.
And for the past two days, a cyclone has been ravaging the city and garden that I look out to. Many trees have fallen and many leaves have been shed, but most of the trees have stood strong and steady, swaying with the winds, not resisting, just dancing with even the toughest, testing winds, swirling, weaving and tossing their beautiful branches in glorious courage.

A tree teaches us valuable lessons from seed to tree.

Its seed is buried under the earth and it has to shed its coat under this weight to sprout ~ to be born, to take its new form.

Take the sapling, it invites you to make all the bends and changes so that it will withstand all growing pains and difficulties later in life.

Ah! the flower of the tree, making every smile so precious. It lives and blooms even though it’s just for the shortest of time, healing our aching tempers, tedious days and complicated, chaotic lives, exhilarating as they decorate surrounding landscapes with a majestic and eternally refreshed beauty!

When your tree fruits it asks you to be useful and taste so good that others can partake of your bounty, adding value to their lives.

Their roots teach us the most important lessons of life, they ask you to go deep – deep in the quietude of the earth and bear the weight, do the hard work, dig in its heels by growing thick roots and trunks thereby becoming stronger to bear the brunt of many storms that you will encounter. Through an intricate underground network of roots and fungi, they send nutrients, water and even chemical signals, warning of impending attacks. They can sense which tree is most in need and as a mother, yes, they are referred to as the mother and grandmother trees – they bequeath the resources optimally across species as we must do. Trees too need different skills and backgrounds.

I read somewhere “when the firs are under more shade in summer, birches send them carbon. And when birches lose their leaves in the cold season, firs return the favour.“

These are the reasons why trees flourish and branch out, sharing their goodness, knowledge, air and shade almost like they are extending themselves in all directions. Plants are happy with being themselves, they don’t set limits for themselves, they keep growing! Their struggles make them stronger. They turn towards the sun as they concentrate on their purpose, of growing, ignoring the weeds and predators among them. We know that they are adaptable, they adjust to the seasons! They add value to others lives, they resonate with the purpose they have been given. They move at their own pace as they recognise that each is unique and have different needs and they don’t try to please everyone. The cyclone has abated, I can see the garden below will need cleaning, nurturing, healing, re-planting, re-growing to be ready to re-bloom, re-flower and return to its roots.

In the meanwhile listen to the falling leaves, listen to them fall.

Neerja Shah

Former Publisher Editor of Elle India & TV Producer

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