The therapy that was supposed to save her life almost took it. Almost.
She survived the encounter with death but wasn’t sure if she could survive baldness and a punctured chest.
She couldn’t bear to look at herself. The earth of her body was bare, except for scars. Bones jutted out where once there had been happy meadows, valleys of flowers, skin glowing like the morning sky.
She felt cheated out of her femininity. If only she had worried less about her body being too much, about her body being.
The papaya and pomegranate she ate stuck in her throat. Bleak thoughts struck her brain like hiccups, when she closed her eyes to meditate. She was ready to give up. Would death have been the better outcome, she wondered.
Until a tree – naked of leaves, trunk patchy, hollow in unseemly places, branches twisted – kissed her ear and whispered:
“I’m not tree enough without my leaves, said no tree ever.
Run your hands over your body, Love.
Rub all the places that hurt. Soothe your aching heart with kisses. Turn its ear inward to its own rhythm. When your heart hears its song, it will know it’s alive.
In the new body, there is new life. This Life has shaken hands with Death and then parted saying – till we meet again.
Let it flow, Love. Let your life feel its spring.
It is spring even when leaves grow differently from the seasons before.”
Slowly, she got on her feet, the tree holding both her hands.
All her hair that had fallen off in clumps suddenly swirled around them, like a magic cloud lined with gold.
The tree gently let her hands go.
She turned her hips in circles that grew larger with her smile.
She threw her arms out, now slanting up, now curving down.
Whirling madly, she let her head fall back as the sky gathered her dance in its arms and kissed her fully on her mouth.
Be for Body.
(‘Be for Body’ is an ongoing conversation between and about trees and women’s bodies.)