I still remember that day clearly: it was raining, we were tired of travelling on a motorbike along a treacherous road in Dhungkharka of Kavre in search of what locals call Lauth Salla.
After six hours, a local farmer pointed us to a stone quarry where a few excavators were busy gouging out a slope. He took us to a tree growing next to a water mill right next to the quarry.
It had dark green needle-like leaves, arranged spirally in two flat rows either side of the stem, and had a pleasant smell. Unlike the Himalayan yew, it had unclear and fewer bud scales. Its bark was covered in dust from the quarry, turning reddish grey from brown and had numerous bruises from being hacked by axes.
We had confirmed our first sighting of Marie’s yew, but seeing how close the excavators were, my joy turned to apprehension. The 300-year old tree clung to a slope with metamorphic rock and the only reason it was still standing was because the locals worshipped the outcrop, believing it to be a manifestation of Lord Shiva.