On the eve of Mother’s day, I took some time off – for myself. I took a cup of coffee and walked out to the back deck. I did not have my phone. I did not have a book. I just sat in the chair and looked out at the majestic oak tree in our back yard, my friend for the last fourteen years. A constant.
The blue sky was awash with sunshine, dotted with wispy clouds. The green around me had the sheen of youth. It is that young, lustrous green, not yet the deep green of mid summer. The stillness around me was peaceful, sometimes broken by a strange birdsong.
We fell in love with that tree when we came to see the house many moons ago. It was fuller then. We had to trim some of its limbs due to decay and storm. And although it looks somewhat lopsided, it is still awe inspiring. The tree, over the years, has been many things to me – an object to admire, a yardstick for changing season, a home to quarreling squirrels, magnificent birds and a witness to our daily life. It has also been a symbol of hope after a long, cold bare winter. It has embodied resurgence of life after death.
The tree has witnessed a significant part of my children’s childhood. Before Ryan was born, Sahana played under it, looking for ladybugs, getting used to the open space after moving in from New Delhi while I sat on the deck and watched her. She raised her head from time to time to make sure mama was there. It watched laughter and quarrels of the two of them as they grew. It has seen Ryan take his baby steps as he ran after his sister. It has seen the exuberance of puppy Sage being chased by his human siblings. It has withstood Sahana and Ryan’s crude attempts to build a tree house with their friends. It has seen them wrestle. It has provided them leaves every fall to rake and jump in leaf piles. They have climbed it, they have cried under it, Sahana has read books in its shade and wrote some of her poems, we have played Holi beneath it. It has seen Ryan throw baseball farther and farther as he grew. It has seen Sahana kick a soccer ball when she played soccer. In a way, the tree has been a constant in their childhood and in their coming of age. Somewhat like me, their mother. A witness.
On this day, it felt just right to look up from book/phone to sit there and think and to commune with the tree – another nurturer.