The very first signs of life on earth are said to have been primitive members of the plant kingdom, that is to say, almost all of the other forms of life owe their existence to plants, either directly or indirectly.
Times have changed so very drastically, so much so that I have become the last surviving member of my kind! Yes,you read that right! All my ancestors, cousins, siblings and progeny have been wiped off the face of Earth.
I have been around for quite a long period of time now, and have seen the change in attitude of human beings towards my kind. I was told by my forefathers that back in their day, they were given royal treatment, so much so that they were even worshipped and revered! Unfortunately, I wasn’t born in such pleasant times for our kind, however, fortunately, I was born in a time when there were at least a considerable number of my brethren on this planet. Like I mentioned, all of them have now been wiped out, and I fear that I, too, may not last very long. Nevertheless, I worry not so much about my own death as I worry about the future of this planet, for, you see, my kind have been the protectors of this once beautiful planet, since time immemorial! Today, as I stand here, I am left thinking about the past and lamenting the future of this planet, for I know for a fact that once I am gone, the planet is not likely to survive for too long, contrary to the claims by some greedy humans.
When I was born about a century ago(in human years), I was surrounded by many of my kind. We were once a happy community, thriving in the area in which we lived. That happiness, unfortunately, was short lived, all thanks to human beings.
One fine day, it so happened that a group of men wandered into our house, which they called as “forest”. These people didn’t look evil at first sight, on the contrary, they looked tired and hungry. We were only too happy, and so provided them with shelter from the sweltering heat of the sun, by spreading our arms wide(‘branches’, as the humans would call them). Not only that, we even gave them food! Some of my friends were fruit yielding. These people seemed quite happy with our hospitality and were seen murmuring among themselves. We took these for words of gratitude, and smiled at each other, happy to have been of help.
Now, apart from humans, there were a huge number of other creatures whom we knew and sheltered, like various birds, insects and even some animals.
It is a fact that my kind cannot ‘walk’ as you humans do. However, that doesn’t mean that we are unaware of what happens around us-we know fully well of the tidings of the world, probably even more than you do, and for this, we have our friend, the wind, to thank. He travels the entire world and serves as a medium of communication between us and others of our kind elsewhere in the world. It is in fact he who brought me this very depressing news, that I was now the sole survivor of my kind..
Anyway, back to what I was telling you. It wasn’t too long before we saw them again, this time there was a larger group and they were carrying different kinds of equipment, which we took to mean as their personal belongings. However what followed next was nothing less than murder!Right before my eyes, I saw my closest friends being hacked to death! For you see, those tools they had brought with them were “axes”, meant specifically for this purpose of killing us!Fortunately, they stopped short of killing me. Call it my luck, good or bad, for a lonely life isn’t really life at all. That day they murdered ten of us, but a majority of us managed to survive. Right before our very eyes, they used our fallen friends to build dwellings of their own! Why, Oh why? Why did they have to destroy our dwelling in order to create one of their own? We couldn’t understand..
This was more than twenty human years ago. Left to ourselves, we would have been living for maybe even a century or more, however, our lives were brutally cut short by those greedy humans. Over time, I saw more and more people join the first group, and as a result, more of my kind were killed right before my eyes…Alas! All I could do was to weep for them. For long I have wondered how I was spared the axe, and then I realised it was because there was a religious structure constructed around me, and it was necessary to have at least one of my kind in them.Thank God for that! It just shows that the first humans did care for our kind after all, albeit indirectly. This new lot couldn’t even be trusted with that! Remember the part where I told you about what my ancestors told me? Of times when we were revered? I realised that indirectly, that was the reason for my existence today.
Courtesy of my friend, (Yes,it is now “my” and no longer “our”) the wind, I learnt that similar things had happened the world over, and that I was the “last tree standing”. Sounds like an achievement eh? Trust me,it feels nothing like one! These humans think that they are too clever and that they can survive without me, since they claim to have found ways to do so, but tell me, were their ancestors fools? Somewhere deep down in my heart, I wish that the news brought by the wind is untrue, but I know that it is akin to clinging on to false hope, which is worth nothing. Adieu!
By: Shivansh A.S.(3rd year,Biotechnology)