The Champaka (Magnolia Champaca) tree in our neighbour’s garden is blooming once again. In our language, Kannada, we call the flower, sampige. Here, yellow flowers are more common than the off-white ones. They are beautiful and very fragrant. Some people find the smell a little too much to bear. But I like them. When I open the kitchen windows in the morning their fragrance adds a special warmth to everyday tasks.
We have been neighbours for more than ten years, and this young tree has been here for a much longer time. It reminds me of the two Champaka trees in the courtyard of a temple in a small village about two hours from our home. We came to know of this place many years ago and have loved going there. The temple is nestled in serene surroundings. The trees are giants, more than seven hundred years old. The chief priest of the temple told us that the two trees bear flowers all through the year.
Just imagine, seven hundred years old!! If they could talk they would have so much to tell us. Those trees bring home to us that we are here for a very brief while. The many who saw these trees as saplings are no longer in this world. They are gone. And those many generations who saw the trees grow slowly are also no more. We are now seeing them living their lives in those serene surroundings. We too will soon be gone. We are but ‘the ships that pass in the night’ in the life of our planet.
Nature gives us so much. It is really sad when people with wealth and power believe they own this planet. They think that it is theirs to destroy. Nature’s wealth and gifts are snuffed out without a second thought. What are we leaving behind for the future generations? Maybe people in every age have asked themselves this question.
Thank God those old trees are in a place far away from the main roads and in a temple courtyard. They will never be cut down in the name of development.
“Nature’s special gifts,
Beautiful, fragrant flowers
Add beauty to Life.”
Trees give life and so much more
Is it right to destroy them?”