Tree of Life
WORDS BY WILLIAM CAAN
There is a tree in the middle of Bahrain that is regarded as a natural phenomenon. It is a rare and precious gift to an otherwise barren surrounding. A wonder to behold and a mystery that is both fascinating and bordering science fiction.
A local source cites that this 400 year old tree gets 50,000 tourist visitors every year, and also attracts cults and ancient rituals but in an all Islamic country, that conversation belongs in another article.
If this tree were in the Amazon rainforest, it would be considered an infant next to its 1,000 year old ancestors, living in harmony with nature and ample rainfall. In Bahrain however, the Tree of Life is a lone survivor amongst virtually nothing. It is a miracle and beacon of hope for anyone who lays eyes on it. One wonders if visitors of a 100 years back would have stumbled upon it and thought it a mirage, and moved on. Not daring to mention it to travel companions lest they seemed to be perceived crazy from the effects of the hot desert sun.
Just how did it survive? Trees of the prosopis genus adapt well to arid environments. The root of this species is known to run deep. Many over the years have tried to uproot this gargantuan tree only to give up in the sweltering heat.
I prefer a less pragmatic almost romantic explanation of the tree given by a local who told me that 400 years ago, a young lady had fallen in love with someone she hoped to marry. Unable to tell her parents due to the obvious social constraints at the time she grew the tree in the name of her love, as the months rolled by her love and the tree grew. As she approached the age of marriage, her parents married her to someone they had promised her to. Unable to bear the heartache she took the tree as a representation of her love and planted it far away. She used her tears for a whole week to water the tree and poured her love into it. It is the purity of the tears and her undying love that created a magic shield for the Tree of Life to live, endure and survive in the harshest of environments. The people visiting the tree today admire this natural phenomenon, but only those who talk to the locals will find out the more romantic truth.
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