Photo by Aditi Gautam on Unsplash

Underneath The Mango Tree

The comfort of escaping to the simple yet complex world underneath a mango tree

I stop to rest underneath my favorite mango tree. With its sprawling branches and wide canopy, the giant tree provides perfect shade from the tropical heat. I lean back against its thick trunk and take my shoes off, letting my tired feet and legs melt into the damp earth. I hear the parakeets squawking high above and let my brain relax to their chatter.

The air is sweet and fragrant from the ripened rotting mangos that litter the grass; some split open from falling off the branches high above. Mushy bright yellow flesh oozes out from the split skins, and sticky sap drizzles from the stems. The smell of rain still lingers from an earlier storm, and with the sweet fragrance of the mangos, it provides a beautiful bouquet of calming aromas.

Leafcutter ants march undeterred in a long trail around my foot, carrying leaf and plant pieces on their backs, determined in their daily food gathering. The grass is almost dry but for lingering rain droplets teetering on the tips of a few blades of grass, the rest having evaporated with the afternoon heat.

The humidity feels like a warm blanket around me as I contemplate my day, grateful for this moment of respite. Tiny beads of moisture settle on my upper lip, encouraged by the moisture in the air.

I see a patch of weed-like grass growing along the tree’s side and pick up a long branch from the ground. The stickers from this grass poke your feet if you walk on them and close their leaves quickly upon touch. Lazily, I trail the stick along the top of the grass, and like performing the wave at a football game, the leaves collapse in a mesmerizing rhythm, one by one, row by row, as the branch grazes each blade.

The red hibiscus flowers poking out of the bushes up the way catch my eye, and I realize I must be on my way. I put my shoes back on and walk along the path plucking a red hibiscus flower off the bush. I tear off the red petals one by one, pull the sticky stem from the center, and stick it on my nose, content as I make my way home, joyful in the simple joy and comfort of this wonderfully diverse and complex tropic world.

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