The last wood nymph

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Yesterday, the last square kilometer of forest on the earth was destroyed, to build a mall. It was sad on several levels, we humans were no longer people of the earth, what we were going to be we still did not know, but we were no longer of the land. It was sad but few people lamented the loss of the last bit of forest. Several people were happy because the new mall would be air conditioned and would have a casino. I was the saddest person though, contrary to what Bhoomi believes. She feels an immense sadness wrapped in her loss, but I also feel responsible for her sadness, because maybe indirectly but I have been responsible for it. Bhoomi was a wood nymph. Sadly that sentence ‘she was’ is grammatically correct. She was a legend to me in the days when I was surveying the forest for my company.

There was an old giant tree in the area I had surveyed. It was on the verge of death. The death of a tree was an intense event, here was something that had lived for thousands of years, flourished, blossomed and was now dying. Of course, I was aware that my company’s factory that had been poisoning the ground for a long time now and that was probably what was killing the tree. For whatever reason, I was drawn to this tree and often spent my evenings reclining beneath its hopeless dying branches.  I guess it was a sort of symbol for my own life. There lying beneath the tree halfway asleep, I would hear a song. It was a song unbound by the constraints of any human language. It was a song that the earth would have sung when the first spring had arrived and pushed out the first flowers from her womb, it was the song that the birds would have sung when they realized that they could join the wind in its boundless flight, the song that the stream would sing when thawed from her icy prisons on the mountains, it was a song of life.  And the tree could hear it and it responded to it. Slowly the tree began to spring back to life one leaf at a time. It was still a ghost of what it has once been but was now covered in shoots of new hope. There beneath the shadow of that resuscitating tree is saw Bhoomi for the first time.

I blame myself for her coming to see me. See it is a wood nymph’s way to heal and guard things, to keep them alive and nurture them. That is probably what she saw in me a wreck of a man who desperately needed to be nurtured back to life.  And so in her innocence, she came to bring me life. And she did succor me for a while.

She was singing to the tree when I first saw her.  She sat beneath the tree half hugging it, her skin the color of the freshly dug ground, her eyes the light green of newly born leaves, her lips blossoms of the rarest bloom, her hair a cascade of the spring of life.  I could see why they were not meant to meet with humans, we would destroy them in our greed and that is what we did anyway.

She healed me as best as she could and I loved her with all the worth I could muster. But she could not grow back my lost humanity and I could not protect her doomed forest.

She is in shock now, her song, the only one she could ever sing meaningless.  There are no trees she can sing to and none of the humans care to hear her. She withers with every passing breath and I wither along with her.

I hope there are few planets to be won in that newly built casino, cause we have gambled this one away.

Photo by Andalucía Andaluía on Unsplash

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