I'm really enjoying taking part in the Indie Ink Writing Challenges. I'll admit that this week was definitely a challenge - in the best sort of way - and forced me outside my comfort zone. It's part of why I enjoy Indie Ink's weekly challenges. This week I challenged Alison of Pretty Girls Don't Eat (her awesome response is here) and my challenge - write from the point of view of the last tree standing in a forest - came from the wonderful Kat of Sassy Irish Lass.
It’s true what they say – be careful what you wish for. There was a time when every tree in our forest was clustered together. Branches would jam into one another, roots would collide in the soil and every tree would fight for dominance by growing as tall as possible to suck up all the sunlight it could. We were mighty and ruled the ground and the sky.
Collective living is hard. In the eyes of the forest, a tree isn't as strong or wise as those around it if it can't dig deep into the ground and soar high into the sky. And the day-to-day grind over hundreds of years can drive even the most patient Red Wood Tree to yearn for legs and freedom. It wasn’t that I didn’t care for my fellow trees, but sometimes even a tree wants to escape the sameness of its routine.
Peace and quiet. I didn't mean it like this.
Now I have peace and quiet in bundles. Well, the quiet, anyway. Hard to feel any peace knowing what I do about the way nature is being treated.
I’m the only one left now. The others have been destroyed in forest fires, lost to nature, or the worst, cut down by greedy humans. There was a time when a select few of us would be sacrificed, but humans appreciated the loss it caused and never took more than they needed. We coexisted and thrived together.
Things have changed. Humans are different now. Every creature that passes by me knows this. There are whispers in the wind and anger in the rain and snow that pelt the ground in frustration. Nothing is safe or sacred and there is never enough to please them.
There are some that still care. I once saw a girl chain herself to one of my brethren and refuse to let the saws pass. Well, she tried. In the end, she was written off as crazy and carried off, while the tree was cut down and used for mother-nature-only-knows-what.
The sun hits me from every angle. The wind whips around me, rustling the branches and freeing the last of the leaves. Winter is fast approaching. I’ll sleep and try to hold onto hope as another ring grows around my trunk. I’ll mourn for my fallen friends and remember those times when people tried to climb to the tops of the tallest of us and their satisfied sighs of success as they took in the views and felt the world the way we do.
I’m not a wise enough tree to know what will be harder – to still be here, alone, come spring or to feel my own roots pulled from the ground as I join the others in a paper mill – but I’ll be here as long as I’m allowed. I’ll provide protection and homes for creatures and plants. I’ll entrench my roots even further into the ground and spread my branches out and up.
And I’ll wait.