Egypt, a land known for its extensive sands, overpoweringly bright sunlight, and beautiful stone carvings; was attracting numerous immigrants from all parts of Europe. Among them were Rafael and his parents. Rafael was an eight-year-old obedient boy with a quest for adventure and curiosity.

It was 2:00 pm and Rafael was at Mount Carmel School attending the Geography lecture. Somehow distracted, he started gazing at the map papers at his desk. Went deep into the thoughts, his eyes fixed at Sueve Island, after having a look at the European map. It was actually the place where he belonged to. Located at the heart of the country was Charlotte village, a place hidden and unknown to most of them.

Finally, after 3 years of a busy schedule, the plan was scheduled to visit their hometown the very next month. But what drew Rafael’s attention was the memory of the Maple tree, located a few miles from his grandparent’s place, on a deserted ground. As he went deep into his thoughts, the lecture, as well as the school duration, came to an end with a heavy sound of dispersal bell.

A month later, with all the chaos of assignments, tests, and programs, the summer term came to an end with a big sigh of relief.  The joy of packing things and traveling via rail was never to be missed, especially for kids. After all the beautiful views and delicacies, the train finally halted at the destination. Welcome to Charlotte.

Photo by Satoshi Hirayama from Pexels

It was 4 in the evening. The family was having tea in the backyard. Everything seemed to be stopped. The hustle and bustle of city life were left behind. It was a time for rejuvenation and relaxation. In the middle of this, Rafael screamed, “Mom, things have changed. I see a lot of factories and the no. of shops have increased here”. Mom replied, “Yes, son. People have started to recognize this area and have made investments. Well, it’s a good sign of improvement”. Rafael wasn’t convinced. He said, “Won’t it affect the residents and their peace?”. “My dear”, replied his dad, “Why don’t you go and have a look around. It’s been quite long”. Without wasting a fraction of a second, the little boy immediately set out on his adventure walk.

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As he walked down the lane, he knew he was heading towards the ground which had a maple tree, it was his most familiar place. Excitement grew with each step. He started to recollect and cherish all the memories of the past. This was the most uncommon and the only maple tree in the whole village and hence the story behind it remained a mystery. It gained a lot of attention though. Its branches spread wide across as if there’s no end, foliage hanging down and the breath-taking leaves forming the shape. Of course, the children had nothing to do with it but made them feel connected to it as they played and ran around the ground.

As he continued walking, he sensed something odd. His heart missed a beat and his body started turning numb. “There was the ground”, he thought. He could see the park and Candy shop, but the ground in between wasn’t actually there. He managed to come to his senses, mustered up the courage, and entered the gate, which read ‘Murphy cloth factory’. Hundreds of workers were performing in perfect coordination, suddenly, a voice came from behind, “Hello boy.

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Where are you from?”. “I’m Rafael, have come here for a few days to spend time with my grandparents”, responded the boy. “I came in search of the Maple Tree in this ground where I used to play”. “Oh boy”, interrupted the man, “the ground was isolated and hence sanctioned for factory use”. Rafael said, “Okay, but why here? There are so many empty places and haunted buildings out there”. “Yes, but that would disturb the residents, and also, old and traditional buildings should be undisturbed”, said the man. The boy, shocked and betrayed, decided to head back to his place while he replied, “….so should the trees that lived for centuries”. Hurt, heartbroken but moved on!!!!

Save trees. Preserving the natural resources and maintaining the ecological balance ought to be the wisest choice regardless of the growing population or demand.

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