November 30, 2009
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The weak sun rays embraced the glade. The breeze was playfully shaking the growing grass and making small waves in the creek near the lonely birch tree. Birds were flying in the vast blue sky playing with each other while others were sitting in the old branches singing the song of freedom. It was so incredible around, so even artists could not imitate the beauty of this place. These all are signs that spring was sharing love with the world.

Time was going incredibly fast. Weather shared the warmth with the glade, as well as the sun making a golden carpet on the ground. The leaves on the lonely birch tree were growing each day. In the evening the breeze shook the birch putting small budding leaves to sleep, as well as providing the dead silence during the night time. In the morning the tiny drops of dew were playing a role of the alarm. Each new day was like the beginning of a new life.

Day to day, night to night – and before you blinked, April has passed. The glade was painted green all over. Tiny blue flowers hidden inside the green paint brought even more beauty to this quiet place. The birch was no longer singing a lullaby to her children – leaves; they got older and didn’t need such care anymore. Life seemed so easy, so leaves weren’t paying attention to their mom, warning them about difficult life’s track; and only one leaf named Leavie, who was born the last, was waiting with dismay for the day when they all would be tore off the mom’s weak, tiny hands. He was afraid of the cold period of time, which his mom called The Winter. The leaf knew that its life is really short if it’s not lucky to become a tree by itself in the future, which is almost impossible.

Late May gave a sign of existence. The temperature was rising each day and the tree was experiencing a feeling of thirst. There was no rain for about 3 weeks already. The old birch wasn’t worried about anything, except her children she was holding on the branches. Sun decided to share its cruel purposes, so the rays coming to the earth became enormously hot. The leaves were hurt from such intense warmth, so was their mom. A couple days of suffering brought to the night with horrible storm. The wind was so strong that it was ripping off leaves, as well as branches hurting the old lonely birch. The darkness was showing its power proudly too. In the morning the tears of loss couldn’t stop sliding down the tree trunk. Many of her kids were taken by the cruel wind to the place the birch would never have a chance to visit. Unlike their mom, the leaves got over the loss of their siblings almost immediately. It seemed like they had never even existed.

As the weather got fairer, leaves got longer, and in most of them you could even see the uneven edges. Leavie looked at them with a jealousy; why did they have it and he didn’t? Is it because of the age? Or maybe… Maybe mom doesn’t love him as much as his siblings? All answers seemed reasonable to a child. He knew that about one month from now would bring him the visual change in appearance to make him look just like his brothers and sisters.

One day, Leavie woke up from hearing unusual noises. No, they weren’t coming from birds. And… it didn’t seem like wind either. What was it? He was worried and afraid to see something he had never seen before. Each second the voices were coming closer and closer and eventually, Leavie saw four huge figures getting closer to his mom. The shade was no longer helping to hide.

“Mom, who are they?” Leavie whispered.

“They are… human!” She whispered back.

Was it a sign to be careful? Human… what an interesting word! At least it doesn’t seem so scary. “Well, we’ll see what they are up to” he thought. The curiosity overtook him. Somehow, the fear had disappeared after he saw these figures running around the glade and making sweet and kind noises they called laughter. Even though everything seemed quiet and harmless, Leavie could feel mom shaking. She was worried and scared of something.

“Why is she scared? They seem like such nice and cute creatures…” Leavie said to his brother growing on the upper branch.

“How do you know they are nice? I believe mom has more experience than you, silly” his brother cut and made a look like he doesn’t know him at all.

Even ten minutes haven’t passed when Leavie changed his opinion on them. Harmless games now were promising a fair danger to mom’s life. One of the human took the knife (that is what they call a huge sharp metal piece, usually used for protection) and sticked it into the birch bark.

“No Kristen, it’s not time for the juice yet!” One of them screamed to another.

“Yeah Kevin I see. We should come here later! Let’s go.”
And they left. Shock was the major force of this moment.

“Mooom?...” His shaking voice broke the silence.
The old birch didn’t answer. It just didn’t have the power to talk… Sooner or later, that day was forgotten but Leavie still worried. Is there going to be something more horrible in future?

Days got shorter and shorter. Nights were no longer warm and caring. The rain frequency and duration slightly increased. Something felt wrong. Birds were no longer singing; moreover, they were flying away from the glade somewhere, until the horizon erased their contours from the sight.

“Mom, why are my edges turning yellow? What’s wrong with me???” Leavie asked.
The birch sighted and answered:

“You will know soon.”

What did she mean? The thoughts were chasing in his mind: “Please don’t tell me that my life is going to end one of these days… I have already lost a fair amount of siblings. I can’t imagine there is something crueler than that!” Sun rays reminded of the spring: they were as weak as when he was a baby leaf. The life cycle seemed to turn back with the only exception: he felt like he was getting older and older opposed to the youth… Each day Leavie saw how his older brothers fall down into the dirt and the rain drops break them down into pieces. In about a week, they turn brown and in a way dissolve in the ground. When they fall in usual weather, they become extremely dry, so even a slight breeze can tear them apart. No, that was not what Leavie wanted. Temperature dropped extremely. The sky was covered with the thick grey blanket for a long period of time. Depressing atmosphere. Why does the life play this game?

One night during the sleep, Leavie felt pain. What was it? – He couldn’t understand. Then, suddenly a huge power tore him down from the branch and with incredible speed was taking him far from the glade. The world seemed to turn round and round for almost two days. “This is the end” – Were his last words before he… landed. This place didn’t seem familiar at all: It looked like his mom was not the only tree in the world like he used to think. And those trees standing all around were not white at all… Grey bark was so plain and monotone that Leavie thought for a second he’s in hell. It was so dark, even though it was supposed to be daytime.

“Where am I?” He said out loud.

“Forest…” Each tree answered whispering with an echo.

No, it didn’t seem like what his mom used to tell him. It wasn’t even what happened to his other siblings. It was something else: something he couldn’t find the words to explain. It didn’t feel like death, it didn’t feel like life. Leavie was laying on the ground looking up at the topless trees. And… He noticed he’s not alone on the ground. There was a maple leaf-girl lying besides him. She couldn’t talk. Or maybe she just didn’t understand his language…

Time went by very fast. Each day it seemed like the ground was trying to suck him inside. What’s the purpose of it? Why can’t he just be left for dead just like all of his siblings? At least the suffering ended for them; unfortunately, not for Leavie. The first snow covered him keeping him actually warm and protected him from the windy, freezing weather. Well, he just fell asleep. He doesn’t know how much time passed but when he opened his eyes, he felt like he wasn’t a leaf anymore… What happened? Did he die? Hopelessness turned his life upside down. Where is his mom now? And who is he now? He felt stronger and more powerful than he was before. Eventually, Leavie understood he’s the future of his mom’s life: he is a… tree.

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