Under the Horse Chestnut Tree
Spring is almost closing but the coronavirus disease seems unending. Who would have thought such a pandemic named Covid-19 would bring the world to its knees. The invisible disease forced the world to shut its activities and movements of people but also to re-examine the scientific progress and religious beliefs.
People are wary of one another.
Elderly are confined to a marked territory if she or he is in a house.
Neighbours are scary to indulge in neighbourly titbits.
Friends postpone to meet friends.
Good old warmth of meeting someone is blighted by fear of infection.
Kids are bored to at homes (It is better to be in the school. Teachers may say something strictly, may say something harshly but they also teach something new unlike the parents, which is more fun. Ah?).
Strangers shy away from strangers.
The rulers are ruling over their subjects dangling the threat of Covid-19 (They are having the best of their times: less to answer, least to say.)
Recruiters stop recruitment.
Employers force employees to stay home, stay safe, get less pay, or go away.
Less fortunate are those who have not seen the effects of the Covid-19.
Anything of this kind due to Covid-19 was ever seen before in the records of the world. They say Spanish flu was almost like this but not so brutal: lockdown after lockdown after lockdown.
The cherry trees, which I see every day, have shed their lovely blossoms. The ground under the trees is carpeted with pinkish white petals. About to rot. I saw their spring blossoms when I went out to buy groceries. Their flowering period is short, too short. (Did the Japanese go out for spring excursions to see the cherry trees in blossom? Did Japan have lockdown?) I did not think over their short period of flowering but their short period of showing their inner beauty. Their fruits are unpalatable, anyway. Edible cherries come from the cultivated crops of other types of cherry trees: Prunus avium, and Prunus cerasus. Prunus serrulata is only a showy cherry tree; not just an ornamental tree in Japan but Japan’s national tree. However, the flowers of cherry trees, Prunus serrulata, remind the impermanence of things, of life, (of Covid-19, too). I notice the leaves on the cherry trees and walk past them: mono no aware: awareness of impermanence and transience.
There is nothing much to do due to Covid-19. I ramble. There are many things to give company, and drawing attention due to Covid-19. There is nothing much to do due to Covid-19. A horse chestnut tree catches my attention. A big one. An old one. The tree is dressed in its seasonal pyramidal panicles containing flowers in the colour of white to pink blotch to pale yellow. I sit under its canopy: green air, green roof. There is feeble traffic. Fewer passers-by. Not many issues to rue about. Scarce thoughts to scare the life with coronavirus disease around. Few and far between things to do. The leaves rustle. I see a piece of moon in the sky, still not sunset, but gloaming. I look up at the hermaphrodite tree, stamens and pistils together, and say to the tree I will be around when you have conkers, or when deciduous.
I keep walking to return to my home, unafraid that I have inhaled the Covid-19 causing virus. The young conkers of the horse chestnut trees have spikes. They look alike the virus saving for their colours. Why did this virus wreak havoc on humanity? Is the virus the new weapon of mass lockdown?
The world never pauses; for a change a normal cold or flu virus mutated and transformed as a virulent strain to scare the world. Every one. The world is at war with an invisible virus: The Third World War. Man versus virus. Humans versus viruses.
Just before re-entering into my cage, I see the sun in gloaming. The rays are not strong, but soft, watchable. Golden hue. The rays of golden hue scythe through foliage and spaces between buildings that have become prisons. Within the prison, there is a room to travel. Dag Hammarskjöld observed, “The longest journey is the journey inwards.”
Kovuuri G. Reddy