Yes, I can hear you complete the sentence. That is what the trees around Second Chance House, Selim Hill re-teach you, the ability to converse without talking; the ability to be protective without being possessive; The ability to aspire for the heavens without ever belittling the earth. The magnificent creatures that I am describing are the bridges of energy that connect the natural with the supernatural.
Hidden inside these trees of Darjeeling are age old secrets. Spend time under their boughs and they may slowly whisper them in your ears. The lightning struck tree, which is neither alive nor dead, is intertwined with many youthful and energetic whippersnappers. The fresh green merges with the brown such that even birds are unable to distinguish between the ‘was’, ‘is’ and ‘will be’. Enlightenment is the interlinking of the past, present and future.
Some trees have developed cavities and in the process, have become nature’s cupboards. The pine tree just inside the Selim Hill, Second Chance House gate has a hollow trunk. The gardener has converted it into a store house for his dried leaf compost. Ingeniously, he fills it with dried leaves from above and takes out compost from below. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and the cycle that goes on forever and forever.
Down the path, among the tea bushes of Selim Hill is a honey larder housed inside another pocket of a pine tree. The busy bees collect their flavour from the surrounding camellia (the tea flower), hibiscus and the rose. I hear a refrain as they buzz about their business - Karma and Dharma are no longer two different concepts, they are interchangeable.
The Chinese Elm has rented out its perfect hollow to the Hoopoe Bird. You can see this unafraid bird hop out as it looks for its food on the ground. Bengalis lovingly call it the ‘Mohonchura’. As your eyes follow this fascinating bird, your attention is bound to be drawn to the roots of this grand old tree which travel right into the middle of the lawn much like someone has spread out an old-fashioned map. If only I knew how to follow its directions! The branches of the Chinese Elm spread out their arms peering at you through their lace like leaves. “Come, rest a while,” it says, “have faith, I will take care of you.”
The peach and the litchi blossomed. The fruit may have been sweet. We don’t know as the monkeys feasted on them. The guards are forever after them, shaking their fists and screaming, “thief! robber .........!” The trees stood silent as sufi saints - Have they robbed us or have we robbed them?
If you want to hear the pitter patter of the rain after it has stopped raining, if you want to be showered by petals and leaves, if you want to forest bathe.....come to Darjeeling, sip a cup of Dorje and reach deep inside yourself.
Write to me at Editor@Dorjeteas