The Tree In The Sand

It had been an hour of aimless wandering in the hot desert. Matt took the last sip of water left in the bottle. Why did he have to part with the group in the first place? Was every little 'off-trail' adventure necessary? He questioned his actions for the hundredth time. He knew bickering wouldn't help, yet he grumbled again and again. The desert was driving him crazy. The overhead sun sucked his life out of his limbs as the sparkling sand blinded his eyes. 


He huffed and puffed as he dragged his feet on the ever-fading trail. He hadn't seen any sign of life in a while. No snake slithered on the arid soil, and no lizard crawled out of the yellow sand. He had lost all hope and was about to lose his sanity when he spotted… a tree! A simple, ordinary tree, it was, with a trunk so thick that Matt couldn't even surround it with his hands. It was the first sign of life Matt had seen in an hour. It was like reuniting with a long-lost friend. A friend you know very little about but would want to learn more about. There was nothing extraordinary about it, though. It was just a big, old tree. But for Matt, it outshone the dazzling sands and the bright sun. The fact that it existed in a biome so barbarous made it nothing less than extraordinary. There was no plant, lest another tree nearby. No sign of any vegetation. Nor was there any water body nearby. Only dry, arid soil covered the area. But still, the tree lived. 


The kindred hues of green leaves looked so vibrant at the time. It was a miracle that life had thrived there for years. Maybe not thrived but survived. The Tree had stood its ground against all odds. It was like a lone wolf battling the mighty desert. It didn't have an arsenal of weapons but a lot of determination. The war, however, had left a lot of scars as well. The dried fallen branches under the tree reminded me of the wounds it had suffered. They spoke of the countless times the desert had tried to uproot it with sandstorms and heavy winds. But the tree didn't give up. The new, tender branches spoke for it. The tree wasn't ready to give up. Not yet. The wrinkles on the trunk trapped years of battling experience. They accounted for years of struggle the tree had faced. But they also showed the years of resilience the tree had shown. 


"With will comes the power to stand against adversities and overcome them."


The Tree personified this line with utmost accuracy. The suffering has been long... very long.....but the tree is implacably determined not to lose. The war is raging, and maybe nature's wrath will overcome it someday, but the tree will depart knowing it did its best. Knowing it stood high when no other could. Knowing it outdid itself. 


Matt's thoughts were interrupted by a jeep horn. He turned and saw his friends in a jeep coming toward him.

 

"Thank God! Matt, you're Ok. We were worried sick for you," Linda let out.


Matt smiled and started walking towards the vehicle. He turned back to take the last look at his newfound friend. Just then, a dry gust flew, and a leaf fell off the tree. It sailed the wind and landed in Matt's hands, who caught it very cautiously. Perhaps it was a parting gift from a friend he might never meet again. Funny how he prayed and prayed for someone to rescue him but now that his friends had come, he was reluctant to go. He was unwilling to leave such a marvelous creation of mother nature—a masterpiece carved by the earth itself but which might never come forth into the world. The desert was covered with gilded sands, but the real gold was the big, old tree with a trunk so thick.


~Apoorv Sharma