642 Tiny Things to Write About: If a Tree falls in the Forest…

Pretend you’re a tree. What are you thinking as the try to cut you down?

Ahhh. It’s a very dark version of the famous Barbara Walter’s interview question, eh?

Writers of fiction and folklore have through the ages anthropomorphized trees.  They become the dryads of Greek myth, the Ents of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the evil trees in the Wizard of Oz, the trees and fauna of Disney’s “Silly Symphonies”,  Shel Silverstein’s  “Giving Tree”.  (For the record, I never bought Silverstein’s book for my kids; it always seemed to exemplify a puritanical view of nature existing for the benefit of man).

I’m fortunate to live in an area of California where coastal redwoods are abundant; there is a stand of them right outside my window at work.  Seeing them all day, you tend to get a bit complacent about their beauty though, so I probably should appreciate them more often.  My daughter moved to the east coast of the United States a few years back.  When she comes back, the first thing she wants to do after getting an “In and Out” burger is go for a walk in Henry Cowell Redwood State Park.   So maybe distance makes the heart go fonder for trees as well as humans.

“The Rowan” (say in a Monty Python English accent)

If were to imagine myself as a tree, it wouldn’t be something so grand as these majestic giants of the Pacific coast.  I see myself as more of a rowan tree, short and a bit like a shrub.  I’d hang out in some European mountain forest with the birds, visited occasionally by some old woman looking for berries or a branch to carve into a walking stick.

I don’t know what my thoughts would be as a human, no less a tree if I was leave this world, but here’s a stab at this assignment:

“Please don’t cut me down. I’m old but I still have so much life to live in the forest.  As I came from the earth from a seed, I shall eventually return and feed the soil once again, but that time has not come.  I have years of berries to produce for the birds yet and I provide shelter and solace for all who gather beneath my branches. Ah the woodsman’s ax, it stings as it cuts!  I am felled! I am felled!”

(My only hope is that if I did become a tree, someone would compose a much better death soliloquy than this!)




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