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Verdant

By , say, AL
dream last night, though it seemed much more like a message. The message brought a request with it. Well, it was more of a command than a request.

The dream itself was quite interesting. It began with me piloting a ship through a vast sea. The ship was mostly unremarkable, save for the wooden bull’s head adorning the prow. The sea, however, was quite different than one might expect. It was pitch black, but dotted with millions of little points of white light. I was carrying something with me. It appeared to be a heart, but it was green. The heart itself seemed to be made of various leaves, all without blemish. Roots, which were untouched by dirt, spread from the heart, branching out in myriad ways. Eventually, I saw a lonely island in the distance. As I got nearer to the island, I realized that it was once covered by a vibrant forest, however, all that remained were numerous groves of dead trees and blackened ground. The ship came to rest near the island, and I stepped onto the lifeless soil. I walked until I found the husk of a large, and perhaps once lively, tree. I presented the heart to the tree, and at once it melded into the tree. Almost immediately, the tree began to flourish, and as life poured into it, it poured life into everything around it. The previously lifeless forest now bloomed with countless beautiful colors from a nearly infinite variety of now healthy flora. Scattered pools of crystalline water began to appear in the pock-marked soil. I walked towards one of these pools, and knelt down to take a drink, only to see the reflection of a woman staring back at me. At first, I thought it was my reflection, but that couldn’t be right; I’m not a woman. As I stood up, I realized that many objects had begun to converge upon the island. Also, the island seemed to be growing. The last thing I saw before I woke up was one of the many large trees on the island uprooting itself.

When I awoke, I remembered that there was a forest nearby, one very similar to the dream forest. This forest had caught aflame because of the intense heat the past summer. Now it was marked to be cleared in order to make room for a new neighborhood, or so I had heard.

So, I continued heading towards this dead forest, wondering what was waiting for me.








I’m walking towards the forest. I’m being called here, but I know not what calls me. I am a simple man, and I lead a simple life. This is beyond my normal scope of activities. The thought excites me.

I reach the forest, but I do not see the large tree from my dream. There are plenty of smaller trees, but they are grey and lifeless. I notice a clearing in the middle of the woods. I advance toward it, and I begin to feel strange. Standing in the clearing, I observe the forest around me. Then, a scene from my dream flashes into my head. It is the same forest, but in my dream, its cup runneth over with vibrant life. Back in reality, I panic as I look down. Something is happening to my feet. My toes spread apart from each other, forming a crude star shape around me. They begin to elongate and thicken, as they burrow into the ground. My legs fuse together, growing a thick, bark hide. This continues up my torso until the odd transformation reaches my arms. My arms stretch out into branch-like shapes, the fingers on each hand mimicking the action of the arms. I am also growing taller, and a crown of bushy leaves is sprouting upon my head. My transformation complete, or nearly complete, I decide to contemplate my situation.

I am a tree.


Before another thought enters my head, I see the bark around my face beginning to grow, obscuring my vision and eventually covering my once human visage. I can’t see anything. I can’t hear anything. I can’t smell anything. I can’t taste anything. But I can feel. I can feel the leaves on my branches, absorbing sunlight. I can feel my roots deep in the earth, drawing nourishment from the soil. I can feel myself drawing life from these eternal wellsprings. This is what it feels like to truly be a part of nature.


I already feel bugs climbing on me. Ants are marching up my trunk. I can sense a spider, building a web. A fly buzzes by and gets caught in the web. The spider rushes to the fly and quickly wraps it in a cocoon of silk. I cannot see these things happening, but I trust this new sense more than I ever trusted sight. I am not observing nature, I am communing with it.


I begin to feel something tugging at me. It’s an odd feeling. It doesn’t feel like it’s tugging at my body, if I can call it that. It tugs at something else. It tugs hard. I begin to slip, thought my roots and branches all are in place. I slip again, more than the first time. I can feel myself steadily slipping, being peeled away from my lively wooden shell. With a final pull, I am completely freed. Though removed from my tree-body, I do not possess a human body. I feel like an amorphous blob, but I’m floating in the air. A breeze comes by, but it has no effect. Slowly, I’m still being pulled upwards. I turn my attention skyward. I see something forming in the sky. I am definitely moving towards this mystery object. It starts as a single, small, black point. It slowly grows up and down, forming a line. As it grows, it changes direction slightly at seemingly random intervals, with smaller lines occasionally branching off. Eventually, it stops. The only thing I can compare it to, is a crack in a pane of glass, but this is much less ordinary. This is a crack in the sky. Gliding through the crack in the sky, I wonder what awaits me on the other side.


Thrust through the narrow gap, I seem to be in space. My blobulous form begins to change itself. I can feel myself taking on a definite shape, of what, I am not immediately sure. Legs, I have those. A head, somewhat bovine in shape I believe, with horns. A tail slowly forms. And hooves form at the tip of each leg. As far as I can tell, I have assumed the shape of a bull. I am not sure why, but I am reminded of the bull’s head adorning the prow of the ship in my dream.


Once again taking note of my surroundings, I become astonished. The change I felt in my senses when I became a tree pales in comparison to what I feel now. I can see all around me, all at once, I can hear a thousand songs, some of beauty, some of desperation, and some of pure hatred, but every song is easily discerned from the others, and I can focus on one at a time, even though I continue to be aware of the others. I can feel a tide of energies rushing through me. The energies are just as varied as the songs, one manifests itself as a rushing jet of aggression, another takes the form of a calm, soothing breeze. For a moment, I feel as though all of the conflicting sensations will drive me insane, but something rescues me. At that moment, something calls to me. It sings a note, so beautiful, unwavering, and pure, that I instantly know that no sound ever found on earth could compare. I focus my consciousness in the direction of the note, and in the process of narrowing my awareness, I notice that I am definitely in some form of space. I can see something akin to the solar system around me, but each of the planets is much closer to each other than they should be. Each planet also has a radiant glow around it, shimmering like a flame, though a different color for each planet. Eventually, once I am entirely focused on the source of the sound, I recognize what it is. It is the brightest of all the planets, Venus. I feel myself being inexorably drawn towards it, the note it sings filling my mind. The planet itself seems to be completely white, with a slight tinge around it, which changes from violet to green periodically.


I am imminently near the planet now. I feel something akin to warmth spreading through me, though temperature has no meaning in this astral sea. The enigmatically melodic note, now louder than ever, encompasses my whole being, just as the unfathomably radiant light does. Suddenly, a small piece of the light, a resplendent, star-like orb, comes from the planet, and infuses itself with my ethereal form. I feel different. In that moment, I realize the purpose of this journey. Sadly, this brings with it the knowledge I must depart, for my journey is not over. The mere fact that there is now room for rational thought in my mind signifies that the presence of Venus is slowly leaving me. As I begin to drift away, I allow myself to stop focusing solely on Venus, once again experiencing everything around me. Solemnly, I continue back to the crack in the sky.









Passing through the portal to the world, I feel my form dissolving. I am once again a shapeless blob, floating through the sunlit sky. I approach my tree-body, and enter it once again. Inside my body, I feel it dissolving too. Slowly, but surely, I am returned to my once human form. In my hand, is a small, brilliantly bright orb of light. I kneel down, and scratch out a small hole in the dry dirt. I place the orb inside, and cover it back up. I take a few steps back, and wait. Moments later, my heart leaps. Just as I expected, the land around me begins to change. First, a sapling appears in the spot I buried the seed. It grows quickly, into a very, very large tree. I begin to step back, then turn and run, the rapid expanse of the tree threatening to overtake me. After what seems like an eternity of running, I hear the noise behind me stop. I turn back to look at the tree. I gasp, beholding a tree the size of a small mountain. The bark is a healthy light brown, and the leaves are a deep, lustrous green. However, the leaves are glowing. A soft, verdant glow permeates much of the behemoth. Striding up to the monolithic testament to life, I run my hand over its bark. Then, I notice the ground around me churning. Countless other saplings begin to sprout, though none grow to the size of the first tree. Grass also begins to grow, covering the ground like a thick, shaggy mane. The forest is growing around me.


Hours later, though still growing, the forest seems to be somewhat settling. Surprisingly, a number of fauna have appeared, from where, I know not. Various ponds have appeared, filled with the same crystalline water from my dream.


I want to drink from one of the ponds, but I am hesitant to do so. I can’t help but remember the woman’s face from my dream, and I wonder if I’ll see it now. I steel myself, clenching my fists and my jaw, and march to one of the pools. At the edge of the pools, I kneel, but do not look down. I close my eyes, and take a deep breath. I lean forward.






The reflection of a woman stares back at me.





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