As I was rushing by, breathless, impatient to get home and ravenous enough to eat a horse, I was drawn to the magnificent and benevolent oak tree in the C.S.U, Stanislaus park and I was tempted to sit down under its shade. I sat down for a moment’s respite from the scorching sun, when I heard a repetitive refrain reverberating in my brain. “For men may come and men may go, but I go on forever” from “The Brook” by Lord Tennyson. As I looked up, the tree lovingly blew away the drops of sweat, from my forehead with its tendrils, making me forget my hunger pangs and I settled down and made myself comfortable against the bark of the friendly tree. I was eager to watch the world passing by, through the eyes of the tree.
There were all sorts of activities going on all around me which made the time I spent there worthwhile. For example, there was a wedding service in progress and the bride was resplendent in a satin, frilly gown with beaded bodice which hugged the contours of her body. The white veil, held in place with a tiny tiara, was a perfect match for the gown and in stark contrast to her dark hair. The bride and the groom were both holding hands in a state of exalted ecstasy, exchanging vows, promising each other, their endless love. The scene made me nostalgic and reminded me of my own wedding, fresh in my mind as if it took place yesterday, not that it took place a long while ago. The fountain was dancing in tune to the musical wedding band. The birds were doing their best and chipping in with their chirpy songs and the ducks in the lake all congregated near the procession, hoping for some tidbits from a kindly soul. It was all so beautiful to see all the beings of nature in such a harmony with each other.
A boy on his bicycle was happily humming along with the song on his walkman, “Mountains bow down and the seas will roar, at the sound of your Name.” The wedding over, the newly wedded couple posed for photographs in various forms of embrace to capture the natural glow of their blissful matrimony against the backdrop of Mother Nature. On the other hand, a young couple behind me on the benches was having a lovers quarrel. I like to presume that they were probably agreeing to disagree about the dates for their forthcoming wedding, the idea spurred on by the picture presented by the happy, now-wedded couple. A group of old people came and sat behind me on the benches and started discussing something in a foreign language and immediately the ducks switched loyalty from the wedding group and approached the old people in respectful silence. They were rewarded with a few crumbs of bread and one of the old ladies fished out a packet of popcorn. The ducks threw caution to the winds and clucked around the lady and this made the old people stop their discussion, momentarily distracted by the ducks.
The boy on the bicycle was back and this time it was, “Yes, Lord, yes!” Tears sprang to my eyes, for it was touching to see such fervor in one so young. He screeched to a halt as he almost bumped into a bunch of kids who materialized from nowhere into his path. He picked up his bicycle, mounted it and was on his way again. The kids abandoned their toys and ran back to their parents in anticipation of the proverbial “rod.” But the parents who were having an animated conversation among themselves failed to comprehend what had happened and the kids took that opportunity to escape again into their world of “make-believe”.
The lethargy of the sultry afternoon caught up with me and as I leant back against the tree to observe a small bird, determined to build its nest, my eyes began to close and I could hear the tree sing to me “For men may come and men may go, but I go on forever”. This tree was a witness to the seven stages of mankind as told by Shakespeare in the famous speech, “All the world’s a stage.”
Copyright © 2012- 2013- Shinu Cherian Roy. http://www.bethstwocents.wordpress.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the content from this blog is not permitted.