Winter was on its way out, and the old leaves were making way for new little ones to spring up and take their place. The minute I saw these large leathery beautiful leaves on the pavement, I knew I had to pick them up. I didn’t know what I would do with them. But I brought them home anyway.
A few days later, they had dried out completely and their leathery texture was gone. But I wanted to keep them with me. We had clear wood varnish leftover from an earlier project of mine. So on Holi, I painted these leaves. A few days back I assembled them and hung them near a window. Now I see them everyday, first thing in the morning, and just before I go to sleep.
For several years, we’ve had a lemon tree in our balcony. I don’t quite remember when it was planted. My guess is that it’s been with us for over fifteen years.
One of the oldest plants in our balcony, it had spread its branches wide. It occupied a lot of space, but not our attention. Not for the right reasons anyway. And like a child seeking affection, it tried to make its presence evident. Every time we went near it to hang the clothes out to dry, it would scratch our hands with its thorns.
Apart from the scratches, the only time the lemon came into our conversations was when our neighbour’s lemon would bear fruit. In its entire lifetime, ours never bore fruits.
My dad brought some fertilizers on the recommendation of our green-thumbed neighbour. Those chemicals were apparently for making the tree bear fruit. But that didn’t work. And so we gave up.
Perhaps it would never flower. It wasn’t supposed to be in a flowerpot anyway. It belonged to the earth. And so we began contemplating getting rid of the tree.
But we couldn’t bring ourselves to uproot it.
We heard our own voices, and it sounded like disappointed parents thinking about throwing their child away. Thankfully, my father refused to throw it.
As if expressing joy at my father’s faith, the following year, the tree surprised us with two small flowers. But that was it. The flowers fell off without turning into fruits.
Last year, a towel got caught up in the thorns of the lemon. Nothing unusual, except this time, the cloth caused our lemon flowerpot to fall and break. We quickly transferred the plant to another flowerpot. But the damage had been done. A few days later, the leaves dried up. Two weeks later, the tree was gone.
For many months, the leafless frame of the tree stood in the flowerpot, showing no sign of coming back. My father refused to clear it out. It would return, he said.
But my mother and I had no such expectations. We’d pretty much begun ignoring the remains of the tree.
Until a few weeks back.
The brown branches were beginning to wear a green coat, with tiny leaves peeping out from underneath the wooden blanket—after a long long winter’s slumber, the lemon was springing to life.
Whether or not it flowers again, it doesn’t matter. We’re just happy to have our lemon back.
The image featured in this post is my entry for this week’s Photo Challenge : Rule of Thirds. Check out more imagery at the Daily Post.
PS: I recently completed four years on WordPress 😀
Spring arrived the other day, right on time. I wasn’t expecting her for another week or so. But it was such a relief! Just a day earlier, the humans had suffered from their annual fits. They had defaced the streets with their fluorescent colours, and it was really depressing. So, it was a delight to see spring this time – indeed, as it is every year!
Thunder was also so excited. He came storming into the city almost every single day. He hugged every tree, and shook hands with every single branch. It was embarrassing to see so many leaves falling for him! I have told him to control himself, but when has he ever listened to a small bug!
Leaving that aside, I’m really looking forward to spring’s wardrobe. Her sense of style is simply unbeatable. Every year she introduces me to new shades of colours. And the floral prints, well they will never go out of style, as long as she’s here!
The afternoons are now becoming hotter – a warning that summer is well on her way here. I better go tell those leaves out there to shift a little, so that I can spend some time with spring while she’s still here.
It’s been a rather noisy night. Huge flashes of lightning lit up the city in the middle of the night.
I step out to assess the damage. The verandah is littered with trash that the storm has decided to leave behind as a souvenir. I dodge the minefield to reach the railing and look outside.
Clear blue skies, and a cool breeze wish me a good morning. A pigeon flies towards the ground. Another one follows it. And soon many others enter the stage from all directions. Someone has just spread out a platter of seeds for them to feast upon.
I look at the trees, to see if there are any casualties. They are injured. They have been stripped off most of their leaves and there is a colourful carpet on the ground. But they stand proud and straight. They do not mind the shedding of leaves, after all, newer ones will grow. They have survived the night, and its time to savour their victory. The breeze is playing a gentle tune, and they are swaying to it.
Soon the city madness will resume, and last night’s events will be forgotten. But till then, I will stand here, in the middle of the mess, soak in the fresh air and watch nature celebrate spring.