Trees (Cycle of Life)
“Spring?” asked the little tree.
“That is when I bloom?”
“Yes.” Answered the wise older tree
That resides in the field
Behind the younger tree
And watching it grow
Like a father
But trees, of course
Do not know the nature
Of such things
As paternity tests.
“Spring.” He said, feeling the word out
Again through his bark
It prickled his insides and ruffled his leaves.
“I like it.”
“Yes child, most trees do.”
His voice was old and tired
Like that of the final embers
Crackling remnants of a left over fire
Overused, worn out.
“And summer,” the young one continued
Babbling on like always
“Is the wretchedly hot time of year?”
“That is correct.” A steady voice, the essence of patience
“Despite the heat, I favor that one also.
All the little children run around outside, It is pleasing to watch, and to think they may one day climb me as they do you.”
The elder smiled with a ruffle of his leaves, “`Tis not all fun and games”
“And fall…” his statement trailed off.
“Is where we find ourselves today.” The older finished for him
“And all our leaves turn brilliant colors,
Mine yellow, yours a fiery orange.”
“Yes.” The older said
He has so much to learn before I go.
How do I convey such knowledge in such a short time?
But he must know the truth of our predicament.
“Son.” The tone was fatherly, concerned.
The younger’s ears pricked immediately, his trunk straightening and his leaves suddenly unaffected by winds.
“Yes…?” The voice shook as the rest of him remained unnaturally still.
“This next season, the one you are yet to experience, It is a harsh one.”
He paused, but when no gesture came from the sapling, he continued,
“I, being the old tree I am,… Am not likely to survive the winter.”
The younger tree drooped under the weight of such news.
“No. Who will teach me the feel of snow, and how to survive the frost?” He shook desperately, feeling hopeless and lost.
The older took the time and filled it with words of wisdom and encouragement.
“Nature will be your guide. And you will take my place as the strongest tree in the field someday.”
“I do not want to take your place. I want you.”
The young tree said stubbornly.
“Oh boy. My dear, dear boy.” The older frowned and swayed slowly with me wind.
“I will be with you, for as long as I can, but it is the cycle of life. We are planted as seeds, tiny little buds in the ground. And we grow, some of the largest plants in nature. Strong and beautiful. And although this world holds millions of us, we are still a wonder to look at, each and every one. And we live and we die, and we bloom and the leaves and blossoms fall from our branches. Do you understand?”
“I do understand. But I do not see why you have to go so soon. I am young and you are strong. Stay with me through this one final season. Try, For me, Please?”
The tree appeared to cry as the stored rain water was sucked through its roots and excreted from its bark. Its brilliant yellow leaves began to crumple, turning to a mushy puke color of brown and slowly blowing away in the wind.
“Do not grieve my absence. Rejoice in the time we have had, and the memories we share. I will stay with you as long as I can, but when it is my time to go, I will not fight the cycle. Come now son, do not cry.”
“I cannot help it. I will miss you dearly.” The little tree shook his branches, trying to shake the feelings that haunted him, the feelings of loss and confusion.
“I am still here. And while I am, we will cherish this time. Not dread events yet to happen.” The elder wiped a tear from the younger’s bark and smiled, almost glowing. “This fall, I believe I can fly.”
“Do not be silly. A tree cannot fly.” The small tree was not to be sucked into his games.
“But a bird can.” The elders quirky smile led the younger to laugh. “Just think, this time next summer I could be floating on a birds wings. I think I have lived far well enough to deserve that, do you not?”
The younger could not refuse the bait. He smiled, all tears forgotten. “Maybe you could be an eagle, Soaring high about the treetops!” He swung his branches to imitate the outstretched wings of the eagles.
“No. I will be a small bird, and I will come to build my nest in your branches someday.”
And they laughed. For playing and joking with someone you know and love seems the perfect way to go. Over the next months they went through all the pleasant assumptions of what the elder tree may be in his next cycle. And when the snow and frost came, he held tight just long enough to teach the young tree everything that he needed to know. And when it was time for him to leave, neither tree felt sadness or loss.
Seasons turned back to spring, and the young sapling bloomed larger and more vibrant than all the trees in the field.
And as the time passed and seasons changed, he was content in his ways.
Birds nested in his arms frequently, and since he never knew which might be his old friend he treated them all kindly and with equal respect. And sometimes her swore he could feel the pride and gratitude in their chirping as the wind whispers, “I knew you could do it son”
Times change and times pass, friends are made and friends are lost. But one thing is for certain, we must all follow the cycle of life. The seasons will continue to turn, and so will the pages I our story.
Now a new sapling grows nearby the young tree, now grown old and beautiful. And he knows what to do. He will teach and coach it in the ways of the forest and the cycle of life until it is time for him too, to break the cycle.