Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Citadel of Trees

I always think of my childhood home, the place where I grew up as my "citadel of trees"--a place perched on the slope of a hill amidst dense foliage and innumerable trees, a safe haven where I can always find peace of mind and comfort.

Yes, there used to be a lot more trees--the rubber trees loomed majestically in front of my house; it was my playground, my magical forest in miniature where I had imagined all sorts of characters from Grimm's fables dwelled happily in rustic existence.

The rubber estate is sadly gone now. Ugly two-storey houses fringe the edge of hillocks where my elves and fairies had played. My childhood friends have all left to chase the dreams of adulthood; the mornings no longer bustle with the chirping of birds and the tinkling of pianos.

This is the sorrow that every generation has to suffer, coming to terms with the passing of time and the vicissitudes of life. We were too eager to grow up not knowing we'll spend the greater part of our adulthood trying to recapture the happiness that we once had as children; children who had believed in the birthright of their dreams.

I remember a fragment of a poem I wrote as a child, an ode to my beloved trees, inspired perhaps by Shelley and Wordsworth: "from them my dreams nourish, and in years they shall flourish".

Whither those dreams?

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