Today I appreciate that I am old.
I have lived a long life to be proud of. Over the seasons I have grown to be tall, sturdy, and strongly connected with my roots. I have experienced a life full of growth, colour, friends, giving and taking. But mostly giving.
I have endured countless seasons, even those with less favourable conditions, but have persisted through them and learned to adapt to the changing world around me. I learned from these experiences and passed down the knowledge to my children. Now they will be able to expand on this knowledge and pass it down to their future generations.
I reminisce today because I hear the obtrusive mechanical noise while the sun is warming my leaves with its radiant energy. I recall my life.
My earliest memory was an age ago, as a seed. I felt the sunshine for the first time, warming me and coaxing me out of the brittle earth. I unfurled my first green leaf towards the warmth, bare for the first time, stretching myself as far as I could reach and testing my own flexibility.
I stretch now from the memory. I creak and groan, remembering again that I am old.
As a seedling, the others and I were towered by an older and wiser generation. We were so curious and aspired to be like the elder trees, with many of their own seedlings and able to provide food or shelter for others. We had a carefree youth; our focus was to grow. The smallest changes in our environment shook us to the core, but the older trees protected us and kept us safe. So we grew strong and became independent, sheltering others when they needed it, as they did for us.
But then we heard the unnatural mechanical noise. As I drink the sunlight in, I am brought back to my younger days. We were tall, but not lofty enough to see over the other trees. We heard the strange noise and leaned in curiously, whispering anxiously to each other.
Suddenly we heard our friend fall in the distance. CRACK, and an ominous wind swept through, chilling us and making our leaves shake. We recoiled. It was not the booming, complete, proud crash of a natural death. It was not a celebration of one’s life and their return to the earth. It was the sound of a life cut short.
The voices of all my friends were silenced early by this noise, one at a time. I shook with sorrow when I heard the cracked falls of splitting trunks and saw raw, upturned roots reaching unnaturally for the sky.
I alone am left. But I still stand strong in the midst of the concrete beings with no voices of their own. The two legged animals bustle by me and I go unnoticed. They don’t remember my friends; they are too busy and concerned with their own species.
I hear the noise again and it is louder than before. I understand that there is danger that accompanies it. I learned long ago, after the first death.
Other remaining animals have found comfort with me. The little winged animals that were forced from their homes as well have flocked to me. I provide them with shelter and they bring my seeds to unknown hideaways. We have created a miniature world of our own, forgotten except to each other. They also remember how it used to be.
It is louder than ever now. I hear its unnatural music stinging me, touching me.
How can there only be a forest of concrete beings? Can it work? What will happen after the last tree is –