he sits just around the corner from the classroom window
waiting patiently as the children recite multiplication tables
he finds peace in their chatter, a pleasant reminder of recesses to come
when the bell rings, they spill out the hallways and pour into his lap
he chuckles and sways as they circle his roots
hop! skip! pounce!
games of tag and hide-and-seek, daily cup of tea;
he sits back in the rocking chair, baby on his knee,
a cozy fireplace dancing in his eyes.
the children have left for a long time now
some cold spring day they were stolen away
he only meets them in glimpses and glances
but they stay as far away from him as they do from each other
no more foot-stomping, it's now six-feet-apart
he wonders if they'll ever come back
or has the time finally come
when his shade is left unsat, his roots untangled, his bark untouched?
old henry waits in the schoolyard
he sways in the wind
he passes the time with memories
of the children who once visited him
day 2: chokecherry near the park entrance
Hey. Do you remember me? Probably not, ha.
They all called her a weakling. From a sapling she had grown frail and sickly, riddled year after year with diseases of every imaginable kind. She was always a waste of precious space; a dangerous one, too, because her body became incubators for parasites and contagious bugs. The other trees inched away from her, running as far as their branches could carry. She cried every night and the worms drank up her tears.
We used to hang out together all the time. The good old days, eh?
Then they came. It started on a sunny afternoon, as many new friendships do: two bike-wielding 'ten-agers' who happened to pass by. She cried out for help, leaves flailing in the wind. And promptly smacked a child on the head.
Remember Bayree? The purple tree near the park gates? You ate a mouthful of berries that day, and immediately named her that. I laughed at you and said that trees don't have names. You said, "Well, this one does now."
They didn't run away like the others did. The boy looked up, at the eggs on her foliage and the worms on her bark. Then, without hesitation, he reached out, plucked an infested leaf. The girl watched, and then did the same. Methodically, they worked their way through her dancing arms, finally a little bit freer than before.
Bayree had so many gross bugs. But you didn't mind them; you said, "Let's help her get rid of these nasty critters." I told you not to worry about it, that the city people will treat the trees 'cuz it's their job. You looked at me weird, and went back to picking bugs.
They came back almost every day that summer. She began to look forward to their arrival, her eternal plague finally washing off her skin. Her purple grew from a withered black to vibrant mulberry. She stood taller, the weight of invaders lifted off her back. Bayree was born anew.
I think we basically adopted that tree, haha. I swear, if you could've moved her into your house, you would've. I thought Bayree would be our tree forever.
And then they left. The girl disappeared first, without warning. The boy left a few months later, but he came back frequently with rice water and bug-picking sessions just before he was gone. A proper goodbye. He might as well have buried the tree, ever funereal.
Of course, you know the rest. I moved away and when I came back to visit, you were gone. In Korea, they told me. I didn't even have your phone number.
She grew on. They'd picked her up from a rough spot, and given her the boost she needed to get her roots running deep. In the brief time they had together, she had grown from a dying ember to a burning flame. She missed them, but don't we all miss the ones who loved us most? And mustn't we all live on?
I went back to see Bayree yesterday. I still don't know much about trees, but I think she's doing fine.
I'd like to think that you're doing fine, too.
day 3: alternate names for trees
the Most Versatile Jungle Gym™ - climb, swing, slide away from sadness and into childhood nostalgia!
dryads slipping in and out of sight, half-glimpsed secrets of the night
runaway lover, weaving away from the sun's pursuit
dancers in a darkened ballroom, candlelight gliding through floating frames
porcupine quills on an orbiting blue marble
day 4/5: the lore and the ax
My name is the Lorax, and I speak for the trees
And let me ask you: do you notice us in the everyday breeze?
We cry with hunger
We cry with thirst
Ripped away from the roots of our birth
But our voices are left unheard
An ordinary birch struggles in a pristine front yard
From a seedling it travelled from yonder afar
Deaf and mute, it lives life in isolation
Away from its mother and tree civilization
Take a look at your friendly neighbourhood trees:
Have you ever wondered about our stories?
When was the last time you came close
Climbed our branches; stopped to smell the rose?
My name is the Lorax and the trees speak with me
The wind muffles our voices but we still shout our story
Have you really noticed that we're there
Or are you only concerned when it's about your air?
It seems that humans like, share, retweet
when yet another forest burns down in defeat
Every day our brethren shout and scream
But it seems you only see us when we are dying, drowning, deceased
wasn't vibing as well on thursday and friday so there's only 4 pieces this week :))