I Was Planted In The Ground

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I was top of my class as a seedling. The biggest and healthiest. I took pride in the smooth texture of my leathery coat which protected me. I remember being on my mom’s branches waiting till I was old enough to jump off and plant my roots in the ground, like an adult. That time never came for me and my fellow seedlings because one afternoon on a bright sunny day, we were taken away from our parents and put into a brown paper sack by a man in a straw hat. That was it.
For a long time I waited with others in that bag, until one day we were picked up and were being planted into the ground. I was so excited. I was placed into the ground, tucked away deep. It was very dark, even darker than the brown sack. That is when I tasted the best thing of my life. Water, my mom used to call it. It was so refreshing and gave me energy. Slowly I started to kick my way through my leathery coat and extend my roots out to get more water. After kicking and pushing for a while, I saw the surface. At first I was blinded because the sun was so bright. The sun soon set and the moon took its place in the sky. I looked at myself in the moonlight and noticed that I was green! How weird I thought. All the other trees I saw were brown and had green leaves. I remember being so embarrassed in front of the trees around me. But they reassured me I would grow just like them one day.
The other trees never did get to see me like I am now, however. At the time, I was about 6 feet tall. More people started to walk through my forest and most got red X’s painted on them. I really wanted one too because I feared being different than the other trees, but I never got one. Then machines came in and began to cut down my fellow trees. I had to turn away. There were only two left alongside me after that. A lot happened after that. That was the day I learned of sadness. More people started showing up, and with strange objects which they used to assemble a big structure in front of us. We later found out by overhearing the people that it was a house, and apparently people lived in it. Many other houses were built near ours and it soon formed a forest of them. But no trees moved in with the houses.

Later on, a family moved into the house, one girl and one boy. They rarely went into the backyard to visit us, but we kept each other company. We also made friends with the birds and the squirrels. More trees were eventually planted around the forest of houses and the squirrels carried messages for us around the forest. It was the best time of my life. I was so happy and wanted nothing more.

As the year went on, the boy had a small creature in his arms. We called it a seedling because over time it grew just like we did. A thick rope was tied around my branch with a rubber ring attacked to the bottom. The seedling would come to play in the backyard every chance he could. That is when I learned of happiness. I watched as he would swing on the ring and play among my branches, and it warmed my heart. People grow much faster than we trees, so the seedling grew to be an adult in no time. On a warm spring day, the grown seedling went into the backyard and brought a girl with him. By then, I was tall and strong. They sat underneath my branches for a while. Then, the seedling got onto one knee and presented the girl with a small metal ring. They were both so happy but I didn’t know what had happened. Later on I asked one of the trees next to me and he told me he heard from a squirrel and it meant they would spend the rest of their lives together. That was the day I learned about love.

I was fascinated by people in every way. Their strange ways were always exciting to learn about. Not all things bring joy, however. I learned one day, as every tree does, about death. Many years went by and people moved in and out of the house. Someone eventually moved in, but this person moved very slowly and enjoyed sitting outside on the patio chair every morning. She was elderly, the squirrels said, “Everyone grows elderly eventually”. Those words rang in my head and scared me. I didn’t want to become like that. But I soon accepted the idea and continued living. One morning, the elderly lady began an awful cough. We knew something was wrong but could do nothing about it. 3 days later, the elderly lady did not come out onto the patio was empty and a sadness was in the air.

Fear is a peculiar thing indeed. It makes people react in the strangest ways. Fear has a way of creeping up on you when you least expect or want it. I remember one incident quite clearly. It was dark, yet mid day. The white clouds had turned black, and the squirrels weren’t scurrying around in their usual manner. It began to rain and I was sure it would storm. After about an hour of pouring rain, no lightening struck. Thunder and lightning were my worst fear. I began to relax and enjoy the rain but as soon as I did, I heard something like never before. A loud crack and the sound splintering wood. I looked around and saw that my dear friend had been struck. A fire was ablaze at the top of his tall branches, for he was much older than me. The rain was not enough to extinguish the growing flames. They scorched my face and my branches, but I wasn’t harmed. Then people came from all over the forest of homes. They extinguished the flames and saved his life. I could never repay them for what they did for us.

It was three days ago that my two best friends and I awoke to find a red X painted on each of our trunks. I’m not going to try to hide my fear of death, as I think we all are afraid of what will become of us after death. It was earlier this morning that a small boy came into the backyard with cupped hands. He was holding a small seed. As he planted it in the ground with care and hope, I learned my final and greatest lesson.

Life goes on.





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