3 September 2021

The Day of Life and Death

Author: Miona Joksimović

26 years old, master student of Serbian literature

It is 12 o’clock on the dot. A beautiful summer day.

The lifeline is slowly burning up. It is melting in the June sun, as is the asphalt below us. As I left, I stood upright… people will remember this for years to come. They will speak about me.

They will protest because of me. They say I left prematurely, but I cannot be the judge. I am just a silent witness that is becoming a thing of the past. Still, there is hope I will become part of a bigger picture. Perhaps not a part, but a smaller piece which could prompt change. For years I have lived in the same neighbourhood, in the same street. Watching people as they changed. Watching the street as it changed. Seconds became minutes, minutes turned into hours and hours went by days. And days… Days became something more. Until a new year starts, a new season, decade or century… For me, time is a cycle. The repeating of small parts. The yellow sun, a bunch of orange leaves, a white comforter, green buds… It started with the sun and it is set to end with the sun. Two unknown men will decide about my execution. I was only fifty when I left… A completely healthy platanus. Not a nuisance or burden to anyone. Other platanuses from the street and me made the most beautiful line of trees in the whole city. A shade in the summer and an idyllic picture in winter. Home to many birds and a symbol for many events. We grew together as did the street, the neighbourhood and the city. As my lifeline was suddenly interrupted, so was the line of trees. This course, our unified life, remains permanently destroyed. Our species has been struck with so much suffering. Lines of trees, parks, groves, forests and jungles were becoming deserted. Places unfit for life, dry land and oxygen-depleted air. The pieces, parts of our green planet, became non-green. How can our planet be considered green then? Humans were the ones to assign such an attribute to our planet. Those were the same humans who began to uncontrollably remove all of the planet’s greenery in the second half of the last century. Half a century later, they became aware of the mistake they had made. Decades passed as congresses, treaties and agreements took place in order to restore the greenery they destroyed. Is it possible that the differences between our species are insurmountable? Both species are diverse. But everyone has a role to play and any small contribution is of great value to the planet. There is so much good we can do for one another. However, every death of ours will bring death to one of yours. The air will become more polluted and the people will get even sicker. So, the cycle of death will never close. One platanus stands as symbol for every tree that has been unlawfully cut down. This place will become a meeting point for those fighting for justice. The people who are fighting for life and greenery, the people who are fighting for the future. There has never been a shortage of certain beliefs and symbols in this part of the world. However, if we do not pay attention, there will be a shortage of greenery and of people. In the end, no one will believe in a brighter tomorrow…

And so, one St. Vitus Day became my last day…

*The event which inspired this story was the cutting down of a healthy platanus on the 28th of June 2021 in Pančevo, Serbia.

Photo: Novosti

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