When the Tree Falls

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In Autumn, in the northern groves, the last amount of growth was still occurring amongst the trees and wildlife. The leaves on the trees swayed with the breeze, basked in the sun, and some few slept and shined as they danced in-out of the shadows creating a shimmering image of illusionary quality, nearly too bright to look at, like the sun itself blazing in the sky. The creatures scittered and scattered and crawled throughout the forest as alive as those autumn leaves with lives as intertwined as the branches of two lover trees. A rare visitor would come to this northern grove and feel the forest as a magical companion, as each chirp and whisper and brushing composed the song of the forest, an aura which was as personal as prayer with Christ himself. It was this aura which made a man want to lay on the forest floor and take both hands and grasp the few fallen leaves and the acorns and the dirt and feel them as one.

In between that autumn and the coming unavoidable unstoppable winter was the period in which all the life of the forest seemed to plunge away into some invisible abyss, the period when the forest was defined not by its noise and color,but by its lack of noise and color. There too was no smell, not even the cleansing smell after a chaotic storm. That was the most disconcerting. It smelt of the void. A void it was. What else can be called the absence of life itself. The trees may have existed, but they did not live, not without their leaves. On the forest floor the rotting gray leaves , rough gray stones, and few icy smoldering corpses hissed and whispered of desolation, and of sorrow, yes of sorrow, at loss.

In the following winter he found himself, in a mist of snow and a cloud of exhaustion. The exhaustion permeated his entire body, filling all of his pores and bringing with it vicious Cerberus, pain, burning, biting, three headed pain. Still he plodded on with his feet chained with snow. With each raspy breath he took into his lungs he took in the mist too, and the cloud. The mist stole part of that vital warmth he needed for survival. With each step, his chains weighed heavier. He was hunched, but not because he lacked spirit, but around him the sun, reflecting off of the snow, creating a blinding ocean of light which he could not help but be submerged in. Without sight he still plodded on, and turned his eye inwards.

He knew he did not have a destination, his purpose was simply to escape those billions of others from the outside. To die with them would have been worse than any death of pain and tedium. So he simply walked on, because he could not yet reconcile his death. He avoided that feeling like one would a frightening picture, but like one would a frightening picture, he could not help but glance. He had considered stopping many times, he knew that only he would know if the extra step had been taken. Many extra steps he did take, to surrender would be a betrayal to something deeper than his soul.

The sun had fallen now, enough so it created a red orange orb in the sky, diffracted and refracted amongst the clouds, casting a glow on the world beneath it, or at least half of it. The sun never shines on more than half the world. His exhaustive state had stolen his mind and brought it to the edge of delirium. This state had on him the peculiar effect of making him hyper conscious of his surroundings and as a result his eyes floated around watching.

He noticed first his breath, what he returned to the world when he inhaled, a little bit of heat, which would pass off and dissipate as fog. He knew that no matter the number of breaths he took, he alone could not breath life back into the forest, and he was alone. Into the fog of his breath passed a few solitary snowflakes, and he could not help from reminiscing to those memories of his childhood snowflake, a great big glob of snow of symmetry and infinite sophistication. He could not help but jest with himself. He had never found his childhood snowflake, and he never would, no one ever did. As the snow had clung to his feet it had clung to the trees as an impenetrable parasite, appearing to mask the bleakness beneath. He could not stand its deception. He could not stand deception.

The silence was suddenly shoved into whichever realm silence resides, and in its place stepped a long crackling creaking noise. In a place where a whisper was a violent scream and a falling icicle a gunshot, this noise startled him. He stumbled and fell on his knees into the snow, and the snow grasped at him and added weights to his chains. He looked ahead and saw a mighty tree. It ran into the sky and spread to the horizons with its branches, and its standing was a miracle of natural engineering as magnificent as the tallest skyscrapers and longest bridges. It was this tree that shrieked out to him in a frequency that vibrated his core. The tree began to tilt, and in a moment, the tree, mighty a moment ago, a moment later lay on the ground with a rotten core being sprinkled with snowfall. The thud of its collapse rang out as a dull blast which was quickly smothered by the falling snow. As he could not hear the noises from the bustling city, as they would never hear his final scream, as he would never see spring, the sound of this tree falling never would have existed.





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