Hey, here I am, with my blog ‘The Lime Tree House’; but not before tying myself up in knots trying to understand the difference between a lime and a lemon.
In the end, I decided that I’d use the name interchangeably–too much time is lost in playing up minor differences.
A lime tree grows in my backyard.
It is not a tree in the conventional sense of the word–it looks more like a shrub.
To be fair, it was not even meant to be a lime tree; the plant nursery chap said it was a Citron sapling. As it turns out, the guy was trying to sell us a lemon, literally!
The tree is slightly deformed and top-heavy; for this reason, it needs to be propped up with wooden poles. But what it lacks in personality, it makes up for it with attitude.
It is extremely thorny and keeps grazing animals at bay, but plays a gracious host to bees, butterflies and small birds.
A few years ago I almost burnt the tree down–even prickly thorns have their limitations when faced with a determined adversary like me!
One day I was cleaning my backyard and found myself with a heap of fallen leaves, and setting fire to it seemed like a great idea at the time.
To be not unduly harsh on myself, the heap was not right below the canopy when the urge to indulge in a bit of arson came over me, but it was not exactly out of harm’s way either.
The fire I was prepared for, but not the thick smoke generated from the damp leaves.
To my utter horror, I saw the leaves (those still on the tree) withering and turning a sickly yellow under sustained exposure to the smoke.
This senseless act predictably drew fire from my father, who is the self-appointed custodian of all plant life on the premises.
I’m guessing that the little episode must have made him wonder whether he should be worrying more for the tree’s long-term future or hoping his grown-up son’s antics were essentially short-term in nature.
The lime tree, in its short life so far, has overcome a crisis of identity at birth, a physical deformity in infancy, a need for physical support in adolescence, an accident that almost burnt it down in its early teens, a life threatening disease in its youth, and and a burden of expectations in adulthood.
However, it continues to take things in its stride and clearly, the best is yet to come.
The lime tree, however, surprised us by its triumphant resurgence with the help of some tender care and because of its own strength of character.
The yield from the tree doubled too, substantiating my belief that trees–lime, lemon or any other–are to be rooted for.
Moreover, lemons and trees have plenty of good advice to offer: The former gives us such gems as the ‘If life offers you lemons, make lemonade,’ while the latter cautions us against ‘missing the trees for the woods.’ Honestly, I cannot think of a saner bit of counsel.
The house I now live in Mangalore, on the south-west coast of India, is my ancestral home that is at least 150 years old. I was born here, and have lived most of my life here. It is dark, creaky and steeped in a certain mystique. It is also solid, familiar, and full of positive and negative vibes–no doubt, derived from my people, who inhabited it at various times.
The Lime, Lemon and Life
In the backyard, grows the Lime Tree.
If you ask me, The Lime Tree House is essentially a template. In the greater scheme of things, you are what you want to be.
Animation – Featuring the tree, my father and me