I believe in God, only I spell it Nature – Frank Lloyd Wright
Every morning, I am lucky to see Sunrise right from the balcony of our flat. During this time of the year, it is in direct line of sight with my place of residence (please see the Feature Photograph taken from balcony). I stand in the balcony and sip my morning tea every day. While doing so, it has now become my habit to observe the play of Nature. It is just so mesmerizing and makes me wonder how did I miss this so far?
There are two trees within the small campus of the flat – a Mango tree on right side and a Eucalyptus tree on the left. Over a period of time, there is so much that I have observed about these trees and come to appreciate their contributions. While both trees have their own spread of what they offer, it is also important to highlight the differences between the two.
Leaves of Mango tree always point upwards while that of Eucalyptus tree point downwards. The branches of Mango tree are quite strong while that of Eucalyptus are so thin that the leaves make them hang in air or the other way around! As a consequence, the trunk of Eucalyptus is very round and large as compared to that of Mango tree. You must be wondering what is that I am driving at?
If you are an Engineer like me, these aspects are fascinating. Nature has evolved so meticulously and the tree structure makes that statement loud and clear when one examines it from point of view of physical strength. Eucalyptus tree is tall and, therefore, needs to have a bigger trunk but its branches are thin to help it grow taller without adding weight (burden for the trunk). It is exactly opposite for the Mango tree. Is there a message here more than what meets the eye? Perhaps from spiritual, intellectual and scientific angle, a number of inferences can be drawn depending on which viewing glass one holds! I will leave it to you to decipher. By the way, leaves of Neem tree too hang with ball like structure, as if to make it easy for anyone to pluck!
Most impressive though is that these two trees that I have observed at close quarters over a period of time and, in fact, all trees for that matter, are truly Immovable Donors to every living being…Immovable both in terms of physical presence as also metamorphically for giving throughout their lifecycle. They do not move once rooted and offer something to everyone who comes in their vicinity. Here are few that I have noted.
Most of the trees have a small foot-print and, therefore, occupy very little physical space on the ground in relation to what they provide. Yes, they take minerals and other nutrients from the sand and ground water but so do all other living beings, including we humans. What makes them exceptional though is how much they give in return (if we prefer to look at it that way).
Based on my months of observations each morning, the first benefactors of trees are Squirrel and Birds. Both of them do an impeccable dry-cleaning of their body with tree providing to them a safe haven (most of the time). A Squirrel on Mango tree just parks itself on a branch that is dry and without leaves to have full sunbath. Subsequently comes a bunch of Hummingbirds who just hang near the leaves and suck water droplets. A pair of Pigeons too sit on a branch close to each other with legs tucked in and relaxed.
The security guard who relives the night watchman brings rice flakes that are soaked and fried (Poha in local parlance) and puts on the wall at various places. Squirrels are eagerly waiting for this and have their breakfast to their satisfaction. Birds too join the table. What is amazing to watch is none of them fight or shove each other. As if trained in etiquettes, they sit side by side and eat and if the place is not enough, they wait for their turn. Some flakes fall on the ground and birds are the ones who pick those pieces immediately. Fortunately, the tree trunk is so close to the wall where they eat that if provides a quick escape route for Squirrels if they see any threat (Cat too roams around in campus).
Do we really need to list the Immovable Kindness of trees? From seeds to inhaling what we exhale and giving us what we inhale, to providing non-living human beings a source to exhume even when they themselves are dead, the list is enormous if we include the obvious. Trees do this indiscriminately with no expectations. Do we need a better role model for compassion and kindness?
It is our attitude of discrimination that excludes some of the benefactors of trees by monetizing their unconditional donations.
Biomimicry is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human design challenges — and find hope along the way. Just think of the impact if we can design and construct dwelling places to mimic a tree with small foot print and strength to withstand forces of Nature. Of course, architects have done so with structures but, to the best of my knowledge, not something which can be considered as a house.
Coconut tree is my role model. On this platform, Surekha Chandrasekhar has beautifully articulated enormous and generous donations of this tree.
Just like Biomimicry, can we not have Kinmimicry as tress are our KINs in larger perspective and have unlimited KINdness. Our past generations were masters of Kinmimicry and we should trace their foot steps, now more than ever.