|.................... a young lad chasing my friends in this very
front yard. I felt happy each time I thought about my childhood, a childhood full of
warmth and happiness. I wanted those times to return once again. I wasnt concerned
about the loss of a few tamarind pods when the children tried to pluck them, but it did
worry me to see them climbing the tree or throwing a club at a branch to knock some pods
down. Many times I yelled at them: "Be careful, you might fall! Look out or that clubs
going to fall on your head!"
After my warning, there
would be a brief silence. The ones who were up in the tree came down and those who were
throwing the stick dropped it. But as soon as my back was turned, the cheery noise would
begin again. I used to tell them that this tamarind tree was near a road, so it belonged
to everybody. We should all share it, not destroy it. It enriched our lives and our city.
Wherever there was a tree, there was happiness.
For a long time, my life was tied to this tamarind tree. I was
happy when it was in full bloom. I felt empty when it shed its leaves. I loved all the
greenery and wished all the streets in Viengchan were lined on both sides with
trees. Then no matter which direction we looked, we would see nothing but trees. It would
be a city of freshness and cleanliness indeed.
One day, when I returned from work, I came home to sorrow. The
tamarind tree had been cut down. Only the stump was left, knee-high. The branches
lay in a pile on the ground. The front yard was empty. It was breezier and easy to see
into the distance, but I felt a void in my heart, a huge loss. I stood there, dumbfounded.
At the end of the alley, where it joined the main road, I saw two trees still standing.
Only their top branches had been chopped off, but all the other trees lay felled along the
street. I ran into the house to ask what had happened.
"Who cut the trees along the street today?"
"Some contractors. They said the trees were in the way of the
power lines!" replied my wife.