Today I found a magic tree. It was covered in deep, rich, pink blossom. When I reached it and sat beneath it, the world changed. There were no cars, no traffic noises, no people shouting, no city smells and no polluted sky. Just the gentle rustling of leaves whispering spring secrets to one another, the occasional bird singing in celebration of its own beauty, and looking up, nothing but a sky of green and pink. I lay under it, and every now and then a soft petal swam down towards me in its own individual twirling dance, to land lightly on my face or body. I caught one and felt its velvety softness between my fingers. Rubbed it on my cheek, sniffed it, tasted it with the tip of my tongue before laying it on the grass beside me. I slept.
When I awoke, I was standing in the middle of a field, surrounded by long grass and wild flowers, bowing and nodding gently in the warm summer breeze. The sun was high in the sky and the only sound to be heard was the gentle rustling of grass and the singing of the birds. In the distance stood the tree, welcoming the ground, its branches heavy with rich blossoms. It looked surprising clear even though it was so far away – every leaf, twig and petal was as clearly defined as if I was standing right in front of it. I was. I reached up and gently touched it’s cool leaves and stroked its soft, scented blossoms, feeling the life in them. I reached up to its entirety, head back, eyes shut, and it took me in its arms and welcomed me with loving branches.
I was the tree. I stood proudly in a beautiful park bursting with exotic birds, flowers and other trees, though none were as beautiful as I. People came to admire me and collect my fallen petals; lovers sat beneath me and whispered to each other in the dying light of the summer sun. But soon the people began to come less often. Now they sat beneath other trees. The birds alighted in other branches. I looked down at the carpet of rotting petals beneath me. My time was passing; my beautiful arms held nothing but a few sad, wilting petals and leaves, brown tinged and dying. A fading beauty.
A strong wind blew up and strained at my limbs. Rain smashed down, bruising my few remaining delicate leaves, snapping my twigs and turning the ground beneath me to a pool of thick mud. The rain lashed harder and harder, and the wind whipped me, tearing off my limbs, scattering pieces of me all around. I wept red and gold tears and even they were snatched away from me by the cruel fingers of the wind that carried my grief laughing and dancing in spirals around me.
Then the lightning came.
Now I stand alone. I am naked. White and deformed. I tremble, unable to hold myself upright. I try to reach up to the sky, to the sun, for help. I stretch up and feel something give beneath me. The sky spins above me and I crash to ground, stunned and lifeless.
Awake. Startled. Sitting up. There’s a squirrel by my feet. It’s staring at me, legs splayed out, tail up, as if caught somewhere it shouldn’t be. I brush something from my face, and the sudden movement startles it into life and it darts away across the grass.
I look up into the tree and feel its quiet sadness.