The Banyan Tree

Courtesy: Rosa Say
Courtesy: Rosa Say

Kini and his son Akamai found themselves on another afternoon adventure. After a wonderful picnic lunch next to a fresh water stream, they walked into a forest area.

“Father, what’s that huge tree over there?” Akamai asked.

“Son, it’s called a Banyan tree.” Kini replied.

“How does it get to be so large? How old is it? Can you make things from it? Can…”. Kini interrupted Akamai’s questions with a chuckle and upraised hand.

“Let me tell you about the Banyan tree”, said Kini as he sat with Akamai in its shade.

“The Banyan tree is majestic! Its roots are powerful enough to lift a building from its foundation. It is filled with life in its many branches. It can grow to acres wide and live hundreds of years. Its roots can grow into thick trunks which, with age, can become so like the main trunk you can’t tell them apart. The original tree can sometimes die, so that the banyan becomes a tree with a hollow core.”

Kini watched Akamai’s face light up and his eyes widen with each fact. Akamai thought most intently about the last thing Kini had said.

After a minute, Akamai said, “The Banyan tree is like a family isn’t it?”

“What do you mean,” asked Kini.

“I am like a root that is growing into a tree, aren’t I?” asked Akamai.

“Well, in a way you are.” Kini replied. “What made you think of that?”

“As you and mama get older, I’ll need to take care of you. Just like the roots become trunks, I will become my own tree. But, I’ll always be connected to you and mama, even after you are gone.”

“Yes, that is right” replied Kini. He was amazed at the wisdom of his son. He was comforted to know how much his son loved his parents. He knew they would be cared for in their old age. It was a lesson Kini never forgot. And, every time he saw the great Banyan tree he was glad.

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