Monday, October 30, 2006

The Old Pine Tree

After the asteroid struck, the majestic old pine reeled, its highest branches having been struck by the burning projectile. The earth`s friction had eroded the asteroid`s size and energy; by the time it reached the earth`s surface it was little more than a flaming speeding ball, not much bigger than one of the tree`s pine cones. After assaulting the pine, its descent took it directly into the stream that wound its way through the forest. As the water absorbed the molten energy of the asteroid it roiled and boiled, then quiesced. The asteroid settled to the stream bed, like a tumor at rest, dormant, yet capable of eruption.

For some minutes the forest was quiet; the birds had stopped singing, squirrels stood tall, unchattering, checking for strange smells. A family of deer was the first to disturb the stillness, ambling upstream to drink from the stream. Within moments the forest was again alive with energy; only the old pine tree seemed to have suffered any ill effects.

He stood stoically as always. Being the tallest and oldest of the living pine trees was a lonely existence. Other trees whispered to him through the wind, wondering if he was alright. The giant pine acknowledged the others and told them not to worry; he would be good as new in no time at all. Yet, within himself, he could feel immediate changes in his body. He could feel globs of sticky resin oozing down his trunk, filling in the injuries and fissures caused by the asteroid`s impact. The resin seemed to capture anything in its path, its only instinct to preserve the pine`s life. The pine tree, exhausted, closed its senses to the world and withdrew in itself, hoping to be protected by the resin while it healed.

It was only many years later, the pine tree had no idea of the length of his sleep, that he was roused from his slumber by a rushing of water encircling his trunk.The flow seemed to have started above his highest branches and seemed to be gradually moving lower, freeing his trunk from an ashy material in which he seemed entombed. For the first time in what must have been many, many years, the pine tree began to feel what in humans might be called happiness. He could once again feel a connectedness with the world and nature. He closed his visual sense, preferring the feel of freedom that was coursing down his length. And, could it be? The top branches were warming in the rays of the Goddess Sun! The pine could sense life pouring through his body; he could practically feel the beginning of buds bursting into life from his arms and branches.