Years of existence in the woods had made me wise to treat every other living form as one among us . I stood among the huge trees, the small trees, the young ones, the older ones, the shrubs and the grasses in the forest. I was a middle aged tree, medium in size among the lot.
To enhance the backdrop of the forest a beautiful river flowed between us. I stood on the bank of the river. I looked at my reflection in the water that lay beneath. Indeed I was the most beautiful creation of God. The ripples in the water seemed to hypnotize me. The chirping of sparrows disturbed my thoughts.
A sparrow had made a nest on my branch. The nest housed baby sparrows and the little ones chirped loudly. They fed on the berries that grew on me. A little worm sat beside the nest nibbling on my leaves. Once in many months my branches provided shade to ‘human travelers through the forest’ who leisured their little meals and nap under me. I felt proud of the little happiness that I shared with other races of life in the world.
The breeze that blew through the trees swayed my leaves in joy. This was the most beautiful time of the year. The lovely spring season with flowers and fruits. I had lived through each season of the year. The autumn brought tears in me to see myself growing bald without leaves. The showers during the rainy season bathed me and the tiny drops of water that dripped from my leaves after them ornamented me like pearls.
The evening sun rays crept though the branches and the leaves. A herd of deer headed towards the river. Some of these animals drank water from the river while the others fed on the fresh green grass that stood on the banks. The deer always came in herds in fear of the carnivorous animals to which many of them had become the prey. The dusk had set in and the animals moved in herds back to their habitat.
The sky looked like a canvas with hues of orange and gray. The sun had set and the night was about to begin. One more day in the forest had passed.
I listened to the rattle of snakes in the dark . They were everywhere around – on the ground, on my trunk and on the branches. Several hoots and whines of the animals filled the night air. Before long the whole forest became silent with the inhabitants deep asleep.
The night finished into a beautiful sunny morning with the early dawn lighting the forest. The woods were once more filled with chirps and twitters of the birds. I looked at the sparrows who were engrossed in flying lessons. For the first time I felt envious of the beautiful relation of motherhood they portrayed.
I could hear the river sing beneath me. The river sheltered fishes, frogs, water snakes and crocodiles. The daylight crept through my branches and leaves. I looked at the little fishes that played in the river.
Suddenly I could hear some noises and they seemed to come closer. As they became audible I recognized them to be of humans. The forest saw few human travellers during the year and I expected one. But the sounds indicated a group of them. As the sound came closer some birds that sat on the trees flew away. Soon I saw a group of humans heading to us. The men carried some sharp looking tools and machines with them none of which I had seen before. An elephant accompanied them. The elephant looked like a human bred one with its face and body depicting the tiredness of work burden.
Before I could sense what was happening the ‘sawing machines’ had cut through my fellow trees. They wept of pain while the rest of us shouted for help. One by one as the trees fell down, they cried the tears of their last breath. Every one of us cursed the moment and the humans.
This was the first time I witnessed the ‘evil face’ of the humans. I had heard from my grandfather of how our predecessors had been killed by them. The mankind was considered the most intelligent species on earth but they never used their brains to think what effects deforestation can lead to. We brought them rains, prevented soil erosion, gave them food, provided shade to travellers and what not. For once I felt ashamed of the pride I had in serving them.
Thoughts about the sharp machine blades that would cut through my trunk sent me a shiver. I held the mud under me tightly with my roots. I dreaded the moment when I would give away to death.
It was evening and soon the machines stopped. The humans and the elephant that pulled the logs moved out of the forest.
I could hear sighs of relief around me as the deforestation group moved into the distance and they could no longer be seen. Death had arrived like a devil in the form of human beings and left some of us untouched. The death that took many dear ones left us shocked.
I looked at the ripples in the river flowing beneath me. Those were the ripples of my tears that fell in the river. Tears of worry and fear when death will overcome our love and courage.