I pause everyday when I pass by the old tree, with shedding bark and roots bulging out of the hard soil, and reaching almost to the edge of the road. It somehow makes me wonder that somewhere, in this whole wide world, or probably in my mind there lies a undeterred clarity that I seek. A phophetic, disturbing clarity that will anhiliate everything, not just my doubts, or my concerns, and probably everything I think I am.
But the same mind mocks at the tree, and any such notion of a universal, absolute truth. With its various appendages borne out of conceit and an arrogance of wisdom, the mind uses its tools like imagination, ego, acumen, enabling us means to break free and to soar high in the sky beyond our mere existence.
If there is anything that acts as a check and keeps us down to earth, it is our past. The past that forms the roots of the tree that we are with all the branching persona, the manifestations of self that we have experienced. To get rid of the past, of all the conditioning that the world has brought unto us therefore feels like liberation.
But isn’t liberation just another form of condemnation, once liberated are we not condemned to become the masters of our fate, relinquishing the cushions of faith and destiny, and forfeiting the sympathies of the social norms. All these safeguards are there for a purpose, and used as excuses by the rational men, though deep down we all know it is a small price to pay to get that high, of breaking free.
But as I go further on that road, shedding the inhibitions, unchained and untethered, and as I come out of the shackles, I realise how I resemble an uprooted tree, standing exposed, bent and broken as the present ticks away and the shadow of helplessness obstructs the future. I know it’s not the right way, acceptance is the first step to shunning, the old tree seems to be telling me.
‘But what would you achieve standing erect like the old tree, without any seeming purpose, facing the winds and braving the storms’, they ask.
I attempt to answer, if only to myself, but all that comes to me at such times is my past. The anguish of living in an unfair world instills a scorn for everything, if not hatred. But I have been no different, it tells me. That sweet taste of freedom which lingered momentarily on the tip of my tongue everytime came at the cost of bitter memories. These victories and failures, by which I assess my existence remain etched at the back of the mind, choking me everytime I stand in front of the sad, stolid tree, standing undeterred by anything that happens around.
If only it had a conscience, I say and walk away.