Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Old Oak and the Young Apple Tree

A short story inspired by old times at the YMCA camp and the loss of all those trees.

The wind whistled with the scent of her blossoms.  The old oak always admired the colors and scents of the lovely apple tree growing up the hill off the dirt road. He stood and observed from a distance, for more human generations than he cared to count.  Watching as the people and animals passed his way.  There was a scar of a heart with initials carved on his trunk. The scar came with the memories of childhood sweet hearts who spent their youth climbing his bows. Now the couple was wizened with age and came to him every few years to celebrate their times as children together.

The younger generations spent their time under the apple tree.  She would shower them with petals in the mid spring mornings or shelter them in the hot summer sun.  The old oak was still taller than her and held more limbs to climb and linger under, but she was in an ideal place for the young ones to look upon the land.

He watched and admired her as her dress of petals began to fall. The fullness of the summer leaves would spread wide in the summers light.  He watched as her visitors came to use her as cover for their picnics and moments of love.  He watched as her limbs became heavy with the growing of her apples and more came to see her, to pick of her fruit and thank her for the bounty. As late summer turned to Autumn, he watched as her leaves turned into yellow and gold. They would cascade in a shower of golden leaves around her, covering the hill in her beauty.  Then winter's grasp took over, and they would sleep the cold away, waiting to awaken to the spring.

Years passed as the old oak watched her.  He began to feel pain within his roots and trunk, but he could not move like the visitors of his limbs.  He could not walk away like the couples that came to the apple tree.  He spent several years feeling the pain within him, as it climbed slowly into his limbs.  He called for help, but no one could hear the screams of a tree.  His leaves began to brown, earlier and earlier each year.  Limbs would fall for no reason but that the wind blew slightly too hard.  He could no longer hold himself together.

Then the day came when the grandchildren of the couple that carved their initials in his trunk, arrived.  They were full grown now, and carrying the tools of man, the tools of destruction.  There was no escape from what he knew would be his end.  At that moment, he heard the cry of a young apple tree.  It wasn't the scream of pain that he had been making for several years now.  It was the cry of heart break.  He called out to her, his tired voice echoing hers in a crescendo of sound too high for any human to hear.  The animals around called out their voices joined in the mourning music of the trees as the machine of the men roared to life.
The oak tree's scream of heart break became the cry of pain once more as all else ceased to exist, but the pain that only man could bring.  Near the end, he could hear the apple tree calling out to him.  Her sweet song was echoed by the scent of her fruit.  She called to him and seemed to reach for him as the breeze passed through her limbs.  He called back to her once then fell to the ground, and then there was nothing.

Thanks for reading, part of FSSF  by Greenwoman 

1 comment:

  1. ... The old oak slowly woke,feeling strange. Where were his branches? Where was his strong trunk? He looked above. Could it be? He was under the beauty of the apple tree he loved. But, How?? She smiled down on him, and showered his strong, polished slats with petals. An old couple came and sat down on him, now a lovingly crafted bench. Yes, it was them - the couple from so long ago - who would not forget him, and would share him with future generations. Life does not end. It only changes and continues to grow.