The Company of a Tree
Every day, the woman sat and read under the gnarled old oak. It stood on the edge of a great autumnal wood and she sat there with it, from the early afternoon on to sundown, when she would close her book, rise, and thank the old tree for keeping her such wonderful and quiet company. The other trees of the wood envied the old oak. They wanted company as well, better than the chattering squirrels, grumpy old know-it-owl, or paranoid deer that usually inhabited their woods.
Every night, the trees would whisper to each other and to the old oak. What scents do you smell on her? Where has she been? Is she kind and wonderful? Does she know us or is she just here because it is quiet? The oak rumbled to the others in tones like the creaking of branches in the wind. She is kind. Her voice sounded like a bright stream. She smells of newly-turned soil and fresh-spring air. She loves the trees. She runs her fingers through the low grass and breaks up hard clods of dirt. She is my friend, the oak cracked and groaned.
One day, though, the woman did not come. She did not come the next day either. Nor several days. The trees grew restless, like they would before a storm. The old oak turned down his leaves, darkened his face to the sun. He knew.
In time others came carrying a fine, large box. They dug a deep hole next to the old oak and placed the box in it. A small child who smelled like good soil and clean air laid a book on the box and looked up at the old oak. Then, they filled the hole and sang a sweet, sad song. The trees sang as well, in their whooshing, cracking voices. The old oak sent out a root to touch the box, deep in the Earth.
Welcome back, my friend, the old oak said. I have missed you.
I’m in a bit of a mood, which mostly explains today’s story. It doesn’t quite explain the mood but that’s okay. I don’t have a good explanation except to say that sometimes, you just get in a certain mood and you have to give yourself time to come out of it.
Oh! I ran over the usual word limit. Sorry about that. I could have gone on for another couple hundred words but I figured I’d cut as much as I could to still tell the story I wanted to tell.
Write along with the prompt here.
(Photo Credit: redcube75 on Pixabay)