Red wings of maple and tree spirits

Some times, to go out and see something new, you only need to look at the old and familiar through new eyes. It helps if you have an old dog, who does not want to walk and stays in one place for a long long time, sniffing at something.

So while you stand and wait for him to finish whatever he is supposed to finish, you look around. That is what happened to me in our old familiar park.

Park Bologna - images by Sunil Deepak

Perhaps it was the last night’s rain coupled with the timid morning sun, making designs in different shades of green with the twin brushes of light and shadows. It was beautiful and it woke me up.

Then I saw the cyclamen flowers in the window. Blood red and pristine white. Like Red Riding Hood and Snow White, had taken leave from the children’s storybooks, to go out for a walk. Are they just friends or is it something more serious, I wondered idly, thinking decidedly about things that do not belong to children’s story books.

Park Bologna - images by Sunil Deepak

My dog’s next stop was a plant with pinkish bell like flowers, still wet from the rain. The petals were raised up with airy windows between them, like ramparts of a Gothic church.

Park Bologna - images by Sunil Deepak

A dark brown plain looking bird was practicing its twirling calls, varying the rhythm and the sound like a virtuoso Hindustani music performer doing early morning riyaaz of his aalaps.

Park Bologna - images by Sunil Deepak

It was then that I noticed the small pink flowers on the maple tree. Flowers on a maple tree? I had never seen any flowers on any maple tree. This particular tree, is slender with delicate leaves, that turn into red, auburn, burnt sienna and golden brown in autumn. It does not look like the usual Italian maple trees, that are heftier and taller with more elongated leaves, that do not show so many shades of colours in the autumn.

I had to pull my dog till I could get a closer look at those pink maple flowers. Then I saw, these were not flowers, but the usual maple seeds with unusual red coloured wings. Perhaps when new seeds come out, they have this red hue in the beginning that fades away in a couple of days, I wondered. I must check them every day to see how do they change colour!

Park Bologna - images by Sunil Deepak

A more Italian looking maple tree, a short while later, had much bigger seeds and even its wings had a faint pinkish glow.

Park Bologna - images by Sunil Deepak

Brando’ my dog’s next stop was underneath a lime tree. There was a wonderful fresh and delicate perfume coming from the lime flowers, hanging from the under-surface of skate-board like projections.

Park Bologna - images by Sunil Deepak

Another dog, an old enemy of Brando, passed by and the two broke out in a familiar barking contest. Somehow this short exchange of barking, woke him up and he started moving more quickly.

“Hello”, I said to the old plane tree. It is huge and must be 40-50 years old. It is my old spiritual master and I am superstitious about it, so I am not putting his picture here.

I had found him 4-5 years ago, after reading a book of Michael Crichton. Crichton is better known for his bestselling books like Jurassic Park and Congo, but he had also written on other themes, like his spiritual quest. In that book, he had talked about his journey to a desert, where he had sat in front of a cactus tree and meditated for a long long time, perhaps a few days, till the spirit of Cactus had come and spoken to him.

That book had strong impact on me. So after reading it, while talking out Brando to the park, I had tried to talk to all the trees to see if my spiritual guru could be hidden there, and thus I had discovered the spirit of the old plane tree. This particular tree is placed at a place where our local water canal makes a sharp turn and there is a small water fall. Standing near the waterfall, listening to the gentle sound of water and feeling this huge presence of the tree-spirit is a wonderful experience.

Park Bologna - images by Sunil Deepak

Finally we reached the central path of the park, lined with horse-chestnut trees on both sides, in full bloom with white cones of small flowers with specks of red in them. As we walked underneath, flowers came floating down on our heads, reminding me of a scene from Satyam Shivam Sundaram, where a scantily clad Zeenat Aman with half her face covered with her sari, is lying close to a handsome Shashi Kapoor, and technicolour flowers fall down on them.

Park Bologna - images by Sunil Deepak

Even if Brando does not resemble Zeenat Aman, I could imagine myself to be a young Shashi Kapoor.

Such a beautiful day, I thought. Perhaps we can make sandwiches and come out for a picnic lunch in the park later in the day!


  • Ankit says:

    Excellent pictures!! Love the serenity of the place..

  • vinaymusafir says:

    Beautiful photographs.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Pictures are not getting opened.


  • Deepaks says:

    Thanks Ankit, Vinay and Mahesh, I hope the problem of images is resolved, I can see them without any problems.
    Ankit, reality is a little less serene than the images, since the park lies in the path of an airport! :-)

  • Tarun says:

    Sunil Ji,

    Beautiful pictures and wonderful write up. Gives a fresh perspective to neighbourhood park. Thanks for sharing.

  • Deepaks says:

    Thanks Tarun :)

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Simply superb piece of writing. And what can one say about the scintilating pictures.

    Shall await your next write up.

  • Deepaks says:

    Ram, that is very high praise indeed. Thanks. I am touched. :)

  • Nandan says:

    Almost psychedelic.

    What would happen if I, by somehow, make the sharp turn alongside the water canal and look at the water-fall and realize that not too far from me, there stands the plane. Definitely psychedelic.

    Are you a Godfather fan ?

  • Chandra81 says:

    Hello Deepak,
    Wow! Just loved your storytelling. And I definitely agree with Nandan when he says psychedelic with the Crichton example to conjure an altered state of perception. You have woven a powerful tapestry through evocative narrative and photographs with interconnected POVs indeed.

    And in a special mention I just loved this line “making designs in different shades of green with the twin brushes of light and shadows.” Sheer poetry
    Will definitely look forward to your posts.


  • Deepaks says:

    Came back dead tired from a trip to Geneva, and the reading your comments, Nandan and Nikhil, made me feel really good and less tired. Thanks. :)

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