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CURVED: The Life of Trees

Alexander Field, CURVED

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If trees could speak, they’d say nothing, for they’ve found peace; learned to let it be. They’d stay silent, swaying in the breeze. At least, this is how it seemed.

 

Deep in the forest, blazing new ways for other beings, I came across a clearing. Erected in the center was a single tree. Ten feet from the roots, its trunk twisted & split into a million splinters, carrying a glistening green canopy to almost the edge of this clearing. I approached, hesitating, circling, capturing its beauty from every side; in every piece.

 

Times like these teach me what is serene…

 

It was an old, old oak with leaves as big as both of my hands. One floated down upon my head while I basked for minutes on end. Thanking my new friend, I dropped it in my bag. Fancying a climb, I leaped for a branch – SNAP – and landed flat on my ass! At this joke, the Great Old Oak finally spoke.

“Who is this that cracks my canopy – another log-cutter; fourth horseman; ender-of-summer; sultan-of-sand?”

I stood up against her insults, “I am just a man.”

“I believe that’s what I said.”

“No, not me, I’m on a hike with no destination until I decide to go back, again.”

“I have eyes in the sky and ears in the earth. I know where you’re from, for what it’s worth; a land of production, pollution, the scourge of the Earth. This is my forest, I am it’s mother, and it comes first.”

“I did not mean to break your branch; I have no intent of disrespect.”

 

A brute of a breeze dove in, grabbing the edges and circling just as I did. The tree before me seemed to spin, waving in the wind. It was not a greeting, but a goodbye.

“You’ve said you’re out on a hike, but sound like a scout. A forest tells everything to its most grand tree – yes that is me. I’ve heard how you explore, breaking from trails to go out on your own, trampling your rubber soles over our sweet grass with slight grace. Though you’re quieter than most, don’t boast, for one human is the most this planet can handle; just one man to ensure the race is gone.”

Another branch fell, catching my crown, and forcing me back onto the ground. The wind deceased and the day became pretty, again & again, I stood against her insults –

“Then I am more than a man, for I despise every arm of your canopy which can’t stand the breeze, or rather, the sick practices that let it be!”

 

A much lighter breeze strolled through, stealing words from the woods, and whispered them through the leaves of the Great Old Oak Tree. I was able to pick up on a few things.

“With all sincerity, I’m sorry. I understand your concern in your current state. I hope it’s not too late.”

“I’ve stood hidden from the eyes of man for as long as I can, so if this is it, just let it be the end.”

“I’d think that unwise, if you’re the mother of all these beautiful pines.”

 

A creak came ’round the woods, like cries from little ones calling their parents.

“Don’t doubt trees being wise because we live without eyes, and only move when the wind tells us to. When it comes to this… there is nothing we can do.”

 

I decided to take a seat. “It is us, not you.”

“Yes, that’s true. The greater Mother Nature always claims us, but in time for another mother to take over. Cars and such carbon-crafts are merely catalysts.”

“I enjoy walking and bicycles.”

 

The canopy rose and fell ever so slightly; a sigh.

“You may be more than a man, after all.”

“I’m certainly not your demon. I see your view, but your allegations are on you. We have mothers, too, and fathers which choose all the horrible things that happen to you. It’s not in humanity’s hands – just a few humans. There’s those with power, those finding their place, and those making new ways.”

“Which are you?”

“The third. New ways find truth.”

“Are many more like you?”

“More than your children can tell you of. Across our Earth – yes, it’s ours, too – there’s people like me who care for nature, for trees.”

“Why?”

“I am your child as well, looking for peace through your branches.”

“So, this is why you wish to climb! For a better view of the forest surrounding you, take to the right.”

 

And so I did. Grabbing a low branch to the side which didn’t break under my weight, I swung into the canopy. Up and up, I didn’t realize how far this Great Old Oak went until I came to the top, swaying in a breeze I couldn’t feel beneath the tree.

“Look.”

 

I stretched my head through her great leaves. They tickled my face and gave way to the top of everything. In a forest of many pines among other great trees, the mother was still the largest. I saw the sun slipping into the horizon, and the moon finally coming to. Light, orange to white, crashed and danced across green-needle caps. The beauty was too much for me, and so I returned to the base of the Great Old Oak Tree.

“What did you see,” she asked me.

“All of it. Everything.”

 

Wiping my eyes, I continued my return, slowly strolling back to the woods. On the cusp I stopped and whispered, “thank you – I’m sorry.”

 

Home I went, to carbon-crafts and polluting smokestacks. It all felt a bit more dark & gloomy.

 

 

Some days later, I returned with a friend, a woman like me who could walk in the woods and feel its beauty.

I lead her back to the Great Old Oak Tree…

…the grave of the Great Old Oak Tree, who finally accepted herself dying

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CURVED: The Life of Trees