The spark flew like a bullet through the air; only it was on the ground. Towards the curb. Then near a foot. Near a tree so tall; so chipped; so brown; so green; so full of pines. The pine aroma filled the night sky. Every breath was just a little more of that forest stench. Within the blink of an eye, the brown, lumpy, cracked, breaking, bulging, old trunk on the tree began to burn like the bodies burned as a form of execution in the past. The flame trickled at a speed that seemed so slow to the eye. Up and up it went. Finally, that one little spark, reached the first pine needle. The needle was quickly engulfed by the flame. Then went another needle. And another. And several, several more. At once, the top of the tree was reached by numerous flames of fire. The glorious tree that gave us oxygen to breath was nearly in ashes. After what seemed like a long time, the tree was in a pile in the front lawn of a neighbor's home. The air no longer reeked of pine. Now, there was just smoke and that campfire smell. Little bits of fire coming from the flames, little sparks, were flying everywhere. Red, orange, and yellow all filled the dark, starless night sky. Like a neon sign, the flames were bright. Now quickly fading, the crowd had grown. What started as "let's light a firework" turned into something that could have turned much worse. One spark caused all this. The chaos, the 911 calls, the shock. Now engraved in about a dozen human's minds, fire is no toy. As they had seen, even the smallest spark, which no one suspected, could start a big problem. From afar the mumbling crowd could hear the sirens. Like a fire alarm almost. Racing down the street faster than Speed from Speed Racer. Changing all the intersection lights to change from green to red to get to this tree fire on time. All the traffic quickly pulling off to the right to give the big firetruck the right of way. By the time the big hunk of red metal got to the tortured street, the flames were gone. The tree was gone. Chests were tightening. Who will be blamed? Will they go to jail as an arsonist? Who is going to say it was them and accept the consequences even though it was just an accident? Will the police and fire department believe the neighborhood's story? No one was hurt but a measely tree. The man that accidentally started this tremendous outrage of flames could taste the bitterness of the cold breeze. Salty. Sweet. Chilling. "Sir, it was just a tree. No need to worry. We will clean it up and you can all be on your way."
January 1, 2010