Friday, 23 March 2012

Old friends

Before I came to England, my favourite tree was the Peepal.
In Italy, I discovered the Olive and the Cypress, and fell in love with both.
And in England I met the Oak.
And for now, it's my favourite tree in the world.

Outside the window of my first room in England was a huge oak tree. I could see the whole tree, from crown to beautiful gnarled roots. I stared, and stared, and stared at it for a year. When I first saw it, it was coated in thick green leaf. I watched it turn, and I watched it spread its bare arms to the winter sky. And in the spring, the most wonderful thing... My first spring north of the equator. My first glimpse of transluscent baby leaves casting a green haze over everything. The sight of the tree was the first to greet me when I woke in the morning, or entered my room in the evening. I woke in the middle of the night sometimes and sat in the dark by the windowsill, listening to the rustle of the breeze in its branches.

Under its roots lived a couple of rabbits, and once, staring out at it on a well-lit night, I saw my first fox family. It was absolutely silent outside, that hour of night when nothing and nobody appears to be awake. The moon was out, and bright, and the tree was whispering gently, and the foxes were playing in front of it, and my breath caught in my throat and I was, for a precious second, outside of time and thought, completely mesmerised by the sight.

And when I left the room for good, to move into other rooms in town, I cried. For my first little room in England, and for all the happy and sad times I'd had in it, but also, mostly, for the tree. I wished it well and said goodbye as if to a friend.

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