I was often a reluctant witness to a rivalry that had been simmering for the past few years but had now come to a boil, festering egos with vicious rage. It was clear that in this battle, there would be only one winner and the loser probably wouldnt walk again.
Many days and nights they would goad and probe each others defences, their sabre rattling keeping the whole village awake. They would howl and growl and scowl at each other. Almost always, the bigger and stronger of the two, would come close, jab and parry and retreat, while the little guy would just stand his ground. He would resist with every sinew as he was thrashed about from side to side, but somehow always managed to stay upright.
Not too many moons later it finally happened. I heard the unusual couple’s battle rage for hours and finally a piercing scream tore through the winter night. It broke my heart as I imagined the defeat. Early next morning I walked past the gallant little fellow lying on the ground broken at the hip probably never to rise again. The village, as did I, gave up on him for dead and he lay there buried in a snowy shroud.
It was a few months now and just on a whim, I decided to take a slight detour on my daily walk and stopped by where the little one had fallen. What I saw filled my heart and being with an emotion I struggle to explain – it was the colour of molten iron, smelled like my mum’s hair and had the warmth of a bright winter sunrise. I couldn’t help but beam with happiness …the little one was alive! More than alive, he was blossoming! From being defunct and macabre black a few months ago , he had nurtured himself back to life. Silent and resolute had he nourished himself from the bounty of water and minerals in the sub soil and while he would never stand upright again he shone with health as he lay there probably making it all the more easier for the village kids to feast on the apples which were just budding on his bough.
The gusty wind, his fierce aggressor, came visiting again and looked at her formal rival. She gingerly touched him, sending a little shiver through his leaves. The brave little apple tree smiled and hugged the wind back with his branches. Come back in a few months for round two, he told her, the kids and the orchard owner depend on me for fruit now. The wise wind gently lay down beside him, overwhelmed by his resilience. I smiled at the exchange.
From despair comes hope..this too shall pass and a million flowers and fruits shall bloom and we shall all partake of these heavenly delights soon. Till then take care and be safe.