Saturday, September 14, 2013

Prompt: The death of a tree brings the passing of time

Thanks to Jonas Hafner for permission to use his beautiful image, "Charlotte"!

Charlotte is such a sweet, sentimental soul. She’s been out there, perched on that tree stump, for too many suns and moons for me to count. I’m just a simple rain sprite. My time is measured in light and dark, dry and wet. When I’m wet, I dance. When I’m dry, I mostly sleep. Sometimes I talk with Charlotte.

She’s always been more sensitive to the human world. Curious about them. More curious than good common sense will tell any living creature to get away and keep away from that kind.

She loved to watch from the edge of the wood as they built and planted. She didn’t even mind the heady scent of wood smoke. She said lightning made the trees burn too, and we didn’t mind that. And sometimes even big fire, when we all had to run. Especially rain sprite. We shrivel up into wisps of fog if we get too dried out. It happens to all of us eventually. How long? Didn’t I tell you I don’t know things like that? Family? The forest is my home. My family.

Big Tree has always been there, long as any of us can remember. And even though I don’t know time, I know that’s a mighty long time. Endless lights and darks, cold and snow, rain, long summer heat. Big Tree was the heart of the forest. Wise counsel, had Big Tree, if you were patient enough to listen. Again, how long? You don’t listen at all apparently, so too long for you. I’d say. Big Tree had a great big heart and was a good friend to every living creature in the forest. Didn’t pay no mind to size or age or power. Big Tree was as kind to a stinging wasp or a singing bird or a forest spirit like me.

Charlotte’s that way too. Not all are. Some think they’re better, bigger, stronger. They don’t see the light of the forest like some spirits do. Not Charlotte. She’s like Big Tree.

And now she mourns. She sits on the stump, that’s not Big Tree any more, the dead piece stuck in the ground. All that’s left of so many lights and darks, towering trunk, spreading limbs, waving leaves. Charlotte grieves. MMany have tried to comfort her, to cheer her. I’ve tried. She rolls her chin across her knee and gives a ghost of a Charlotte smile.

How long? Too many lights and darks, I tell you. It was early greening when the humans came and buzzed and roared and shouted and cut across and pulled down Big Tree with a crash into the forest. It’s almost snow time, and still she sits. Not many go to visit any more. I confess, it’s been several lights and darks since I went. I like to think I am a patient sprite, friend to Big Tree and many spirits of the forest who are slow and deep of thought and speech. But even I have left Charlotte alone.

Too long. Let’s go! Yes, right now. I don’t care if it’s dark, it will be light again soon enough. You don’t want to come with me? Fine, I will go by myself. You stay here in your comfortable burrow.

Charlotte? Charlotte? Dear, dear, I have seen many lights and darks, and many strange things in the forest, but I didn’t know about this. See here, how her feet and legs are covered with bark? See how still her body is? She doesn’t even turn to look at me now. Her face under my hands is rough and cool.

Sad? How so? Foolish, you are. I daresay you’ll never have patience to listen to Charlotte now. She will make a fine Big Tree. I will come again after the snows and spend the lights and darks of the greening with her. What stories we will share! Big Tree will soon see far above the forest, and now she can always watch the human world, too.

Let me guess. You are hungry. Yes, yes, I am not surprised. No, do you see any food here? Only Charlotte, who is Big Tree To Be. Follow me, foolish one. I will lead you to the finest food and shelter you can imagine. Yes, a feast in a palace. How long? Do not trouble yourself with such things. Follow me, and you will see…

Dogs in house
Time writing:
30 minutes
September word count:

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