*Why is the Weeping Willow Weeping?*
Lone in the deep, dense forest stands a willow- unwounded yet aching. The slant of the harsh sun rays, suddenly too focused on its narrow leaves, is threatening, and when the wind comes, it blows too violently. Bent amid its scattered leaves, collapsing into itself, the willow is weeping. But if no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
It has stood here for years now, secure and flourishing under the shade of those who are nowhere in sight anymore. Alone, and utterly lonely, the willow wishes it were him who had been cut down and carried away. The base of a robust and firm trunk now chopped off still sits close, reminding him not of what was but of what is. The tips of their roots touch under the ground, sometimes intertwining invisibly, and what is left of a lost friend’s body soaks in the tears of the one who lived.
“Oh, weeping willow, why you are weeping?” but my question remains stuck somewhere in space, echoing emptiness. There is, as if a transparent glass between us, collecting haze from both our breaths equally important for the other’s survival. I feel far away. His tears materialize and dematerialize at my will, real yet so distant. The blur in his full eyes does not let him see me, but again, I’m not sure of how much space lies between us. He only looks down, wondering perhaps of a different life and then begins to weep again.
He feels like a drowning island, but the only one left to mourn him is slowly submerging to nothingness. At that moment, he thinks of those who used to surround him once- identical in appearance and function, yet lending to him his very identity. Their leaves would dance as one, indifferentiable creating shelter in their oneness. He even remembers feeling the heat a little less himself from standing alongside his own. And blue and yellow canaries would perch upon their branches, singing. But the forest is empty now, and the only sound that emerges is from within, is silence.
There grows another forest, maybe in another world, where he too is dead, where it doesn’t pain him to give away his flesh for the muscled, where there aren’t enough tears not to be heard. But he would rather live.
He closes his heavy eyes and inflows a dream of colors.
Millions of flowers dotting the ground under a vermillion sky reflecting their hues from between its clouds. Of a body where proclamations of love aren’t etched into his bark as scars and remain, like his suffering, unuttered yet known. Of a man, his footsteps followed by the sound of an axe being dragged stopped in his tracks by some miracle of nature. He dreams of a harmony different from that between his limbs mingled with power lines where statics suffocate thought.
But suddenly, his dream is washed away by the stream of his tears. From the quiet of the woods emerge footsteps, followed by a familiar sound, and he knows it is time to stop weeping for the end looms large. A hefty man approaches him with slow, calculated strides as if breathing in
every last minute of his muffled sobs. He raises his axe, but his arms freeze mid-air, and, in a flash, the entire forest is as if overtaken by a deafening sound. My words have finally made way to the solitary tree. “Oh weeping willow, why are you weeping?” a sigh fills his throat. “I weep because humanity refuses to weep for me.