A lot of water has flowed under the bridge in the valley below. It has carried loads of varying nature – large, small, heavy and light. Some loads it carried couldn’t reach their destination – wherever that may be – and got buried under the river water or got stuck on the banks over the rocks and against the trees. Sands and stone particles might not have gone so far. Branches and leaves of trees would have covered some farther distance down the course of the river.
The huge cypress tree that has been standing in front of the old chorten has abided by and followed the order of nature sincerely. When it was young, it used to flaunt proudly the healthy branches and leaves it had in abundance. With time its leaves started to fall more and more notwithstanding the fact that it is an evergreen species. To worsen its condition, some of its branches became weak and gave way to a summer storm that struck it one day without any warning.
Now that it is old, it doesn’t have much to show off and flaunt. Even the spring winds or winter breeze don’t find any charm in teasing and playing around with it. Striking a romance with the young cypress was not so hard. They used to produce music of a sort which was pleasant to the people visiting the chorten and birds perching on the tree. Realizing that they can’t find any luck in wooing it, winds stop making any further attempts. Birds stop visiting it except when they are in dire need after a long flight.
Tashi has aged rapidly over the last few years. Let alone his hair, his beards are bearing a good mixture of grey strands. As he mumbles the six-worded Chenrezi mantra counting every prayer bead threaded with a string and shuffles around the chorten alone, the bygone younger days and memories of the past visit him. He is in need of some rest. He takes shelter from the sun beneath the old cypress and sits on the stone slab lying there.
He raises his hand and tries to trace the receding hairline which he hasn’t checked for a long time. To his surprise, it has crossed the point which he expected it to be at. He could feel it receding further even as he was checking it with his right hand. Life has gone so fast, he thinks. As the old cypress branches creak above his head under the impact of a strong gush of wind, he looks up and notices many barren twigs and branches. “Not bad either, my friend,” he says softly to himself and forces a smile.