Saturday, 30 April 2011

Juniper and the Dove.

Long ago at the periphery of a small village in northern Bhutan, there was a small forest. Different species of plants grew there and the place was dwelled by many animals and birds. Amid these woods, there was small spring water, which flow down as stream to finally pour into a big river. By the source of the river were trees and bushes, which grew profusely and abundantly. The species of trees were numerous, mostly being broadleaved deciduous trees. At the ultimate source of the stream was a little cave nearby which grew a tree of unique species, a single conifer of Juniper.

As the tree grew by many animals took shelter beneath it, many birds perched on its branches but none took shelter and refugee on that tree forever. All came and went but the tree remained firmly, as evergreen as its leaves, with branches spreading like a conqueror. Its root was so firm that it could behold the entire earth from earthquakes, and its stem, it was so strong that even the strongest of wind could not break it off.

One fine day, during early spring, a pair of doves came all their way from the warmer valley to escape the rising heat. They took shelter on that lucky tree for few days and before they could leave for their final destination, it was time for brooding so the duo dove made a nest on it where the female dove laid three eggs. After a few weeks, the eggs hatched and gave rise to three little doves. The parent then on rotational basis fetched food for their young ones and fed them. As days passed by, the minute naked hatchlings soon developed furs of feathers and before monsoon breaks out, they were almost ready to fly back to their final destination to spend the entire summer.

One fine morning when the sun was shining brightly, the parent doves planned to fly to their destiny with their three little doves so both the father and mother dove went out of their nest and flew on top of the crown of the tree to see their way. While two elder brothers followed their parents to the topmost crown of the tree, the little brother dove was caught by a sparrowhawk but luckily, the little dove got a mere escape thus fell on the ground with a thud. He was seriously injured and his little wing was nearly broken so he could not even rise up. He called upon his brothers and parents for help but they did not hear shivering tweets. The parents tried to search the lost little dove but were in vain so the family of four flew ahead in tears, on that ill-fated day. 

The ailing little dove after recovering the bashful fall, made little efforts to search food for his survival, from the crack of dawn till the close of dusk. After struggling for a month the dove completely recovered from the pain he endured and was capable of flying miles of distance away, but he promised to the tree that he would never leave the tree until his soul leaves his body. He was thankful to the tree for providing shelter during the time of adversity. The dove travelled the day to the nearby villages, roamed the other reaches of the forest, and toured the day with endless flights but never missed a night from the mighty Juniper. The local villagers use to visit the site and chop down trees but never harmed the only juniper considering it blessing from almighty, and when the dove sings perching on the branch of the Juniper, the farmers were pleased and consider the year ahead prosperous. 

Higher and higher, the little dove will fly,
And colours of rainbows would fill the sky.
Down in our village, the yield will be in bounty,
And the first reap, we will make offering to almighty.
The folks use to sing along with the bird.

As years passed by, the tree grew older and so was the bird. However, there was a continuous bliss in that forest. The monsoon showered on time and the farmers reaped a bountiful yield from their toil. 

One day during the monsoon season, as the bird was resting on the trees, looking down the valley and enjoying the serenity, bizarre thought of missing his parents and fellow brothers conquered his mind. Suddenly, there blew a fierce wind that shook the tree ruthlessly, and some of the braches were even broken. Then the sky was down casted with dark clouds. There was flash of unlimited lightning followed by squeaky roar of thunder. Then came a heavy downpour which have the potential to soak even the most remote corners of the tree, which generally faces no pressure from moisture during normal rainy days. 

The dove was taking shelter under one of the lowest branches with his body shivering. He prayed to deity that his mother tree be never uprooted by the floods, nor its branches and stems be broken by the fierce wind, but then his prayers were in vain. The stream swelled very fast and the rocks from the tiny cave fell down one after another causing a massive flood. The age-old roots of the tree could not hold a single knob of earth but it drifted along the flood towards the river, not leaving even a sign of the presence of such a mighty tree. There was nothing the dove could do than to shed tears and wave good-bye to the only companion of his life, when such a disaster shook their life. The dove too left the site and flew to the north for forever after praying that the tree and bird be reborn together in their next life, realizing the impermanence of life. 

P.S: Adapted from the folk song, Chum Tsang Chhu Joo Sai ka Go Luu.