Book 2. Ringing cedars of Russia (1997)
The cherry tree
“Remember, Vladimir, everything within you associated with this little tree. Remember, starting right from the moment you first made contact with it.”
“I shall try to remember, if you think it’s important.”
“Yes, it is important.”
“I was riding in my car, I don’t remember where I was go-ing. We stopped near the Central Market. I asked my driver to get out and buy some fruit. I stayed in the car and watched people leaving the market carrying all sorts of saplings.”
“You watched them and were surprised. Why?”
“You see, their faces were happy and contented. Even though it was cold and rainy out, here they were hauling away some kind of saplings with their roots all bound in cloth. These saplings were heavy to carry, but the people’s faces were content, and here I was sitting in my warm car and I was sad.
“When the driver returned, I got out and went over to the market myself. I kept walking up and down past the mer-chants’ stalls and bought three cherry saplings. As I was tossing them into the baggage compartment, the driver said that one of the saplings wouldn’t survive, since its roots had been cut too short, and I’d better throw it out right off, but I decided to keep it. It was the most graceful of the three. Then I went and planted the saplings in the garden of my country home.
“I threw in extra topsoil around the tree with the short roots, and a sprinkling of peat moss, along with a bit of fer-tiliser.”
“In trying to help it, you burnt two more little roots of the sapling with the fertiliser,” Anastasia added.
“But it survived! In the spring, when the buds started coming out on the trees, its branches came to life, too. Little leaves began to appear. Then I set out on my commercial expedition.”
“But before that,” Anastasia observed, “every day for a pe-riod of more than two months you would drive out to your country house and the first thing you did was go and see how the little tree was getting on. Sometimes you stroked its branches. YDU were so happy to see the leaves, and kept watering the tree. You drove a stake into the ground and fastened the trunk to it with twine all around so the wind wouldn’t break it.
“Tell me, Vladimir, do you think that plants react to people’s attitude toward them? Do you think they feel good and bad thoughts?”
“I’ve heard, or read, somewhere that house-plants and flowers do react that way They can even become all withered when their care-giver goes away I’ve heard about scientific experiments where they attached sensors to various plants, and the needles jumped one way when the plants were ap-proached aggressively, and the other way when someone ap-proached them with thoughts of gentleness and kindness.”
“So, Vladimir, you know about plants reacting to the ex-pression of human feelings. And, according to the Grand Creator’s design, they strive to do all within their power, all that they can, to meet Man’s needs — they bring forth fruit, and try to arouse positive emotions in Man with their flowers beautiful and fair — indeed, they put oxygen into the air so that we can breathe.
“But plants have been granted yet another function which is no less important. Plants which come into direct contact with an individual Man create for him a Space of true Love. The kind of Love without which life for the human race would be impossible.
“Many dachniks are in a hurry to get out to their plots because it is there that such a Space has been created for them. And this little Siberian cherry tree you thought to plant, the one you cared for yourself, it tried to do the same as all other plants and perform its assigned function.
“If there are a lot of them, plants can create for Man a sig-nificant Space of Love — if they are of different varieties and Man communicates with them, and approaches them with Love. All together plants can create for Man a significant Space of Love which enhances the soul and makes the body whole.
“You see, Vladimir — all together, when there are a lot of them. But you looked after just one sapling. And so this one little Siberian cherry tree began aspiring to do what only a number of plants acting together can do.
“Its aspiration was aroused by your special relation to it. It was something you yourself realised only intuitively — in all your surroundings only this one little tree was not asking anything of you, it was not being hypocritical, it only aspired to give of itself — and then you came along. You were tired after a busy day. You went over to the tree, stood and pondered. You looked at it, and it responded.
“Before the first ray of dawn appeared in its perfection, the leaves of the tree tried to catch that ray’s reflection in the brightening sky. And when the Sun went down afar, it tried using the light of a bright star. And as it persisted, something transpired by and by, just a wee bit of something transpired.
“Its roots, twisting themselves around the burning ferti-liser, were able to take in what they required from the Earth. And the Earth’s juices began turning and running through the veins of the tree a little more quickly than usual. And then one day, in an early morning hour, you came and saw the little flowers to which the tree’s delicate branches had given birth. The other saplings were devoid of flowers, but this one, thanks to your gift of caring, had already blossomed. You were overjoyed. Your spirits were uplifted and then... do you remember what you did, Vladimir, after seeing the flowers?”
“I really was overjoyed. For some reason my mood was on a high, I felt a lightness in my head. I went and stroked its branches with my hands.”
“You gently stroked its branches. And you said, ‘Well now, my beauty, you’ve blossomed!’
“You see the trees, Vladimir, and you see the leaves, and the fruit borne thereof. But more than that, the trees create a Space of Love. The little cherry tree very much wanted you to have this Space. But where was the place for the tree to find the strength to give back to Man what it had received from him? It had tried and tried and had already given eve-rything that was in its power, but it had received something extraordinary besides — a showing of tenderness toward it-self and the flowers it bore. And then it had the desire to do more! All by itself!
“Youwent off on your very long expedition. And then, completing your journey and returning, the first thing you did was go to the garden plot to see your little cherry tree. But along the way you were eating cherries you had bought at the market. As you approached it, you noticed that there were three red cherries growing on your tree. You stood there beside it, all tired out, eating the bought cherries and spitting out the stones. Then you tore one of the cherries off your tree and tried it. Indeed, it was just a little bit more sour, a little less sweet than the market cherries you had decided to eat, and you did not touch the other two.”
“I had had my fill of the other cherries. And this one was indeed more sour.”
“Oh, if only you had known, Vladimir, how much power those little cherries contained on their own that was so beneficial to you! How much energy and Love! From the depths of the Earth and the expanses of the Universe and more, the tree had gathered everything helpful for you and poured it into these three cherries. It had even let one of its branches wither in order to make these three cherries ripen. One of them you tried, but you left the other two on the tree to die.”
“I had no idea. But still, I was happy that it was capable of bearing fruit.”
“Yes, you were happy. And then... do you remember what you did this time?”
“Me? Well, I stroked the tree’s branches some more.”
‘And you not only stroked them. You even bent over and kissed the leaves on the branch which was resting on the palm of your hand.”
“Yes, I did. Because I was in such a good mood.”
‘And something incredible happened with the tree. What more could it do for you, since you had not taken the fruit thereof that had been grown with so much Love? What could it do?
“It trembled from the kiss of Man, and the thought and feelings inherent only in Man but produced by this little Siberian cherry tree took flight into the Universe’s space of light — to give back to Man what it had received from him. To give back to Man its kiss of Love, to warm him with this — the bright feelings, the Space of Love. And against all laws that thought swept across the Universe but could not find a resting-place, a means of manifesting the breath — the life — of itself.
“Knowing that one cannot find a resting-place means death.
“Then the forces of light returned to the cherry tree the bright thought it had produced, so that it might destroy the thought within itself and not perish. But the tree did not pick it up!
“The little Siberian cherry tree’s burning desire endured unchanged, extraordinarily pure and trembling.
“The forces of light did not know what to do. The Grand Creator was not about to change the established laws of har-mony for you. But the cherry tree did not perish. It managed to endure because the thought, aspiration and feelings thereof were extraordinarily pure, and by the laws that constitute creation as a whole nothing can destroy pure Love. And it circled over your soul and dreamt of finding a resting-place, a place to thrive. Alone in the Universe, it was striving, aspiring to create for you a Space of Love.
“I came to your ship to at least try to be of some help and fulfil the cherry tree’s desire to find this resting-place, to manifest its love. Even though I did not know to whom it was addressed.”
“You mean to say,” I queried, “that your relationship to me arose out of your desire to help the tree?”
“My relationship to you, Vladimir, is simply that: my rela-tionship. It is difficult to say who was helping whom here — the cherry tree me or I the tree. Everything in the Universe is interrelated. To perceive what is really going on in the Universe one need only look into one’s self. But now, by your leave, I am giving an embodiment to this, to what the cherry tree desired. May I give you a kiss from the tree?”
“Of course you may. Since it’s the right thing to do. And when I get home, I shall eat all of its fruit.”
Anastasia closed her eyes. She pressed her hands to her breast and quietly whispered:
“Feel this, little cherry tree. I know you can feel it. I shall now do what you wished. This will really be your kiss, little cherry tree.”
Then Anastasia quickly placed her hands on my shoulders and, without opening her eyes, drew near, touched her lips to my cheek and held them there.
It was a strange kiss, just the touch of her lips. But it was not like any I had ever received before. It aroused an extraordinarily pleasing sensation, one I had never felt up to now. The technique of moving the lips or tongue or body probably had nothing to do with it. What counted, most probably, was what was hidden in the inner Man that was manifesting itself in the kiss.
But what was hidden inside this taiga recluse? Where did she get so much knowledge from, so many unusual abilities and feelings? Or maybe everything she said was simply the product of her imagination? But then where did the ex-traordinarily tender, charming and heart-warming sensations come from — the ones I could most certainly feel within me? Perhaps our joint efforts will manage to unravel the mystery through the aid of the following situation which I had the good fortune to witness.