A city girl’s tree

I’ve been a city girl all my life but the heart and body have lived outdoors, enjoying the textures of their geography, whether dry desert, humid coast or landlocked elevation. There’s much natural beauty even in swarming cities with its bodies, concrete and sewage. The city that currently homes me is a mix of the old and new both in natural life and man-made structures. The last 8 odd years in Pune have been perhaps much more expansive in terms of time spent getting to know the flora and fauna that have been here even before the city grew over it. Trees have been fascinating in particular for their seeming silence and slow presence.

I’m no botanist and the thought of memorizing long botanical names is tiring and perhaps unnecessary for an ordinary person. I do graze on them though as I dig around to know what others have known before me but its a mere curiosity. Far more intimate is the connection between them and my short life as a singular of my species. I’ve seen many of them through their seasons and wait for their blossoming. Often, I travel a fair distance just to meet one particular brown trunk as though I was going to visit a friend. They feature regularly in notes to myself, poems and contemplation.

This summer, I chased gulmohars and their crimson flares. I waited for September for these gorgeous Indian Cork Tree flowers. These trees are tall and the flowers dangle like earrings high up. The kannada name for them is evocative, aakasha mallige which could be translated as jasmine of the skies. There’s a video of one of the large trees swaying in the wind from a couple of years ago here. The flowers are slender and smell divine. Yesterday, I gathered a few fallen flowers while out on a late morning walk. They came home with me and now sit in a tiny ceramic container filling my room with their scent.

The day began with an intense class at 6am like most days and went on to include some interesting work and conversations. And cake, freshly baked by a colleague and mentor. It was demolished in a matter of minutes by the crew at work. Film making is always fascinating to watch and today was no exception. Day’s end has me smiling, still on a high of a day well lived, work done well. And of course, a green hillside outside the large windows meant I got to feast my eyes on a lushness anytime I wanted.

13 thoughts on “A city girl’s tree

  1. I see that tree in my neighborhood and love the fragrance of those flowers, but didn’t know the name. Aakasha mallige is such a beautiful name.

    And that hill view from your window … Must be so inviting to pack a picnic snack and go hill climbing on a nice day ☺️ or to see a full moon crest it during the nights.
    You are so lucky to have a natural canvas like that to feast your eyes on daily.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deb. The hill view was outside a studio yesterday, although I have a fabulous forest view outside my eindows. It’s like having a live canvas of changing seasons. Except for the monsoon months, I have spent much of my time in the balcony. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Saw some of those beautiful woods in your previous post, lovely to be in such an environment. My balcony shows a skyscraper that’s been rising since the last eight months, increasingly cutting out my skyview …

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I miss being able to see the flowering trees in India. Flowers on bushes and trees here come and go so quickly in the spring. I do love being among local trees all the same and since you recently asked me about birch, I’ve been especially attentive to aspen and a native birch which I’ve discovered share different levels on the embankment I live above.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I’ve been looking up aspens and birches πŸ™‚ Recently heard a talk by Johnathan Drori about trees in different parts of the world based on his book and was reminded of trees in your neck of the woods.

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