Monday, June 27, 2022 | Dhu al-Qaadah 27, 1443 H
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OMAN
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Under the shade of a tree

Whenever someone wants to park a car they look for shade. It could be one aloof tree and the drivers rush for the spot to keep their vehicle cool until they come back. It is a norm that gives us great satisfaction when we are able to spot a vacant space under a tree shade.


Trees have many benefits but we have taken them for granted for so long. Cyclone Shaheen uprooted many trees, however the Tree Day has brought back the prominence of this important resource which is considered to be one of the ways to tackle climate change.


Childhood memories are filled with moments with trees - it was the best place to play, sitting on the branch of a tree was as comfortable as the comfortable sofas. Reading under the tree or having a conversation all had a contact with the tree one way or the other. In the younger days we wanted a stable branch to latch the swing too. It was the trees that one climbed to take a peek into the nests of the birds.


There was a grand old neem tree in the neighbourhood in Ruwi, which used to ooze out gum, and it was fun to collect the gum - for a tree that has so many benefits, the resin must have some benefit too.


It was actually the first time I knew neem tree produced gums. Researching about it made me realise it has been in use for a long time. It is even packed fancy and sold online. Apparently it is a stabilising agent, gels as well as thickening agent so obviously it has been used in soaps, toothpaste, tooth powders as well as in antiseptic creams and not just that, the neem gum has also been used as tablet binder and coated not to forget its use in dyeing and printing of fabrics, according to Neotea Neem Gum on Amazon.


After learning so much about neem gum I was looking forward to catching up with the elderly neem tree. Alas I found the space empty and sunny. As part of the renovation of a building, they had brought down the tree. I thought I had imagined the aura of the tree. Can it just go away like that? The tree’s fragrant filled flowers, followed by fruits and the intriguing gum - a rich colour at times golden brown are memories now. Where did the birds who had housing colonies fly to?


What is interesting are also the factors that the tree produces the gum when it is wounded or when the soil is poor or when a drought is being experienced. It is a mechanism to close the wound and prevent loss of water. It is a defensive mechanism but mankind has found many uses for it too. It only goes on to prove the marvel of the creation.


If that is the case how can we humans alone fall prey to our own problems and shortcomings and circumstances ranging from loneliness, leading at times to depression to addiction?


The harshest of weather brings frankincense, which is why the frankincense trees do not do too well in the rain receiving areas as they do not produce quality gum then. But look at the old frankincense tree that continue to produce quality gum.


In reality, the people who have experienced challenges and overcome them are the ones who have a story of success and tell about the accomplishment of a goal. They probably are the ones who did not give up at the third trial. Their story has an element of fragrance of sweet success but also of pain, hard work and inner strength.


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