Trees at pointReturn

The pointReturn adventure began not so much with the idea of giving trees a home, but to facilitate the home trees will make. For thirty years now I have not been able to pass a full grown tree without, at a minimum, registering its presence. Often I do not know its name or nature and I am more mystified, therefore. What is its inner life like? I am sure it has one, for, I sat alone once, for a whole two hours staring at a giant neem tree and let it heal my heart. It stood over 80 feet tall. In the evening breeze, it gently waved its boughs and I was sure it was all only for me; at any rate the universe did not exist save for the tree and me.

Skipping lyricism for bare facts, it can be asserted that barring those in the snow-capped poles -but, including those of us in deserts- man has survived mostly by trees in his habitat. And he is still an ignorant beneficiary of the largesse of nature delivered through trees. Ignorant, I say, because the ‘science’ of botany is nothing more than a continuing exercise to catalogue discovered facts about plants, a task yet to end, despite half a millennium of sustained devotion. Plants are the source of our food, energy, medicine, clothes, intoxication and creative urges. I also reluctantly add, they are the raw materials of much modern commerce.

The space under trees’ canopy is nature’s kitchen. I will not insult you by making this a primer on trees and their myriad ways, but the integrating role of trees can never be overstated nor frequently enough recalled. A collective of trees is greater than the sum of its constituents. I often find people saying ‘plant mangoes’ – or coconut or apple or oranges or whatever. But that is approaching them as units of profit production in the way specialised factories are designed.

Of course trees can be made to perform in a monoculture, just as square miles of agricultural mono-cropping can be, but you would be undervaluing their potential, let alone the cost of such a practice. But when trees are allowed to develop in the company of their fellow species, they are in a happy society, a mutually assistive one at that. They all grow well, producing an abundance of goods and services, with monetary profit as one of the many by-products. It is a tree’s nature to be of use, to produce, to serve the planet, not just man.

7 thoughts on “Trees at pointReturn

  1. Hi DV,

    I’m excited by your new project. It appears you’ve discovered…or at least are in the process of discovering…the spiritual strength of trees. They are, without a doubt, one of the strongest objects on this planet to ground a person when life is getting out of hand. They are alive with power. Spiritual…mystical…and magickal…they possess the wisdom of The Old Ones, and whisper this knowledge through their leaves to anyone who is in tune with the Earth. As always…I admire and applaud your effort to make this world a little better place for those who walk the path behind you. Well done, my friend. May the Gods be with you.


  2. This was a heartening read. Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration.

    We are in the process of planting 8000 trees in our 10 acres. I found the book ‘Reaching for the Sun’ by John King extremely useful.


  3. Hi DV,

    I have been reading your blog for a while and your description of pointreturn brings it alive in front of our eyes. Publishing is diff business. Farming is equally tough for an urban convert. doing both at the same time and that too from a wasteland is commendable.

    Well done. I shall visit pointreturn when i visit chennai next vacation.

    Ram, London.

  4. dear sir,
    though i rarely write to you,i eagerly wait for your articles and reading them always gives me a lot of peace and one of the readers said,when i didnt find a new article for quite sometime,i.too.was starting to worry about your i was both relieved and happy to see the new article.
    in the place,i stayed earlier,i was blessed to have a garden with many trees.the sun shining through the fresh green leaves,the birds chirping around them,the gentle breeze with the leaves rustling are sights and sounds i can never forget.i have spent so many blissful moments just gazing at all this.apart from this ,the trees also benefited me monetarily because they helped me cut down my electricity bedroom was surrounded by trees and they kept the room so cool that very often ,in the middle of the night,i had to switch off even the fan – this,when all my neighbours and friends had to use ACs to keep them cool.
    just out of curiosity,i would like to know why you didnt plant curry leaves trees and drumstick trees – 2 common trees in south india.
    i hope i can visit point return when i visit chennai in july/aug.
    with warm regards,

  5. Its been an extremely happy read. I myself come from a near-desert region, and the sight of a big green tree is one of the happiest sights in life.
    I will make my way to pointreturn some day.

  6. Dear shridharan ji,
    it was an end of long waiting, which was giving rise to some fear and suspicion about how things were going at point return and i had also started to worry about your health.
    i have gone through the letter in one breath, thank you. i missed the pictures of our trees grove, may be next time you will post some recent pictures of new growth and development.
    list of trees and their description with net images was great.too much to learn.
    if ever i come to tamilnadu to come to pointreturn will be like pilgrimage. why do you not allow any work on Sunday, knowing that it may lot easier for volunteers to contribute on sunday .
    bye for now, i have to go through the list of trees and learn to recognize them.
    take care of your health.
    rakesh ravi

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