It’s Fall, but the curly bamboo sitting smug on my study-table doesn’t seem to know that. Neither has it displayed any pigment other than the ordinary green nor has it shed a single leaf.
My pet has an easy life. It gets artificial light on long, cold nights. I soak it in more water than it requires; so it does not need to suck moisture from the soil. The tiny tot gets ample carbon dioxide from two relatively huge people. But I wonder if the comforts laid out for it have stalled its growth and prevent it from flaunting its hidden hues.
In the world beyond my window; harsh weather is thrusting colors I never knew existed onto the leaves of familiar trees. Some trees are sprouting opportunist orange-yellow; some are turning depressed brown; while some are shrieking with crimson. Some have even managed to maintain the mundane green by gearing up their system against adversity; although what’s the fun in that risk-averseness? Few have multi-faceted personalities with little bit of all the four shades-hope, cynicism, aggressiveness and immaturity.
The leaves are hanging on to their branches with all that is within their veins. It is this courage that people label as breathtaking. Ultimately, I am told, they will get exhausted and lie on the ground. In spring, the naked branches will again give birth to tender leaves that flourish to suffer the same.
I believe Fall should be rechristened Rise. Agreed, the leaves finally submit to the hardship. But that fall is a victorious one. They fall after giving a beautiful fight and they fall enabling their offspring to rise- fresh for another struggle.
A cactus is fated to be cactus for its life. It cannot get rid of its thorniness. Also, factors beyond control such as location and climate also determine destiny. A paperbark maple in New England has the ability to brandish only bright red during this period. The story of a giant bamboo in an African rainforest is completely different from my pampered curly bamboo. Likewise, given resources cannot be reversed. A dense, narrow-wide iris leaf is less susceptible to falling prey to weather as compared to thin, broadleaved oak leaf. Moreover, if the period of darkness is too short or too long, it may not bring forth the spectrum. In those cases, either the leaves would refuse to acknowledge the challenge or accept defeat respectively. In addition, if the intensity of cold is beyond tolerance from the very beginning, the leaves would die without getting a fair chance to wage war. Thus, it takes a lot of fortune to be awarded with the right level of all the requisite misfortunes.
Amidst the frenzy on Harvard campus I live in, I used to find respite looking at the tranquil trees from my apartment window. I thought they accompanied me in my laziness- always standing their ground, doing nothing. However, at this time of the year I realize they too were constantly preparing for the tough times ahead. They too were in the race for survival.
In that sense, my faithful curly bamboo pacifies me. It has only shown unremarkable increase in its size over the past year; just enough for me to know it’s alive. Yet I am afraid it will always remain green.
Everything and everybody falls. Some just make it memorable.