The wilting flower is a joy to behold too. It had lived a great life of sunshine and breeze and petals that showered pollens to the flirty kisses of bees. It had seen the wondrous growth of forests and touched the bellies of small squirrels standing inquisitively on their hind legs. It has played its glorious innings swaying to evening breeze, shivering to rain drops, looking lovingly to the moon-lit lake so glorious in its solitude.
Some believe that because she is drooping, all her strength is gone and what else could she look at when she looks at vigorous leaping sunflowers but the regret of losing her youth.
That is presumptuous. She sees the firming up of vigorous young limbs in others as hers did once, and can feel in her a reinvigoration of her old, natural charm. Nowadays, her petals shrinking, her roots gasping to absorb water, she ends up seeing the earth more than the sky she was born to leap to. But, she would unhesitatingly admit she had a good life. She let a few Petunias grow with her when the wind threatened to uproot them. She and a few friends stood supplying flowers to the nearby temple of Jhula devi near Chaubhatia cantontment. She once brought inquisitiveness and smile to a small child, who was exploring the bushes on her own.
She is old but not gone yet. Not yet written off…the ants still greet her on the way to work. She can still see in the mulch some of her colleagues and knows she will join them soon. She sees the soil matrix from where she can no longer absorb water with sadness but also with gratitude. It’s a good life, it’s a good life, she tells herself. The fulcrum of life and death, where she has been placed as an observer of seasons, she is afraid of and is also glad about. She is tired and sometimes longs to lift her eyes to see the farther off lake as its water shines in midday sun, when everyone naps in the hills. She likes how rain droplets fell with a thud on her upright face, stirring the stamen and stirring her pistil. She knows with age (and hopefully wisdom in this brief stay) that a hung face need not be a gloomy one. Hers is not!
She would like to go on that quiet night before the Devi Pooja starts on hills, when like a lull before the storm, all is quiet. When the moonlight reflects all living organisms in one glow. The transition shadow in which rocks and trees and sleeping rabbits and pine trees are twirled into one consciousness – that is her cue to hit the pavilion running!
Even then, when she was but a sprouting, she was this Seeker. Even in her youth, she would not jostle for space with other flower bunches but would quietly pick a deviant piece of sunlight and grow towards it. What then can be so different in this old age and in this passing, she silently muses, when all this brief life was but a joyful union with mountains and rivers and mother earth and nibbling ants?
What can be taken then from one for whom all was given?
Regards, Arun Lakshmanan