28 Destroying

27/03/2019 10:50

This one was a bit of a struggle, but it's done at last!  Hope you enjoy.


I remember when the world was young and my forest stretched beyond every horizon.  Then I felt invincible, that my trees would last forever, that nothing could destroy the tranquillity of wood and bark and leaf.  Time has shown me my errors.

The first time one of my trees was cut down, I was down at the stream, playing with the dragonflies.  It was a bright day and I was full of joy, unaware of what was about to befall.  And then I felt it, the collision of stone on wood, the bruising then shattering of bark.  The tree that was under attack called to me and I was instantly at its side.  Beside it stood a creature the like of which I had never seen before.  It held a heavy stick at the end of which was a piece of stone, sharpened to an edge on one side, with which it struck the tree.

I tried to reason with the creature, representing the harm it did, to the tree, to the forest, to me.  But it seemed deaf to my words and carried on with its act of destruction.  Defeated, I stayed close to the tree, offering what comfort I could to its passing.  When at last it fell, I laid good spells on its stump so it would sprout again.  After this act of mercy, I followed the creature as it dragged the remains through the forest.  It had taken a tree near the edge of my domain, so I could not follow far.  Where the trees stop, so does my influence.

Over the years, more trees were taken, usually from the edges, so the forest shrank bit by bit.  Sometimes, the creatures worked in groups to clear large areas, uprooting stumps so I could not even bring them back.  I felt they wished to mock me as well as wound me.  With fewer trees, my power and influence diminished, also.  Occasionally, they would set fire to a swathe of trees; I still hear their screams of agony.

The creatures put the cleared land to a number of uses.  Sometimes, they brought creatures that walked on four legs rather than two.  They were sorry for their presence on what had been my land but were powerless against the others; humans they named them.

Some areas the humans used to grow plants for food and here, at least, the sympathetic magic they provided allowed me to venture out from my trees.  They whispered to me of seed and stem, and the mysterious ‘Harvest’.

Finally, the humans built structures for themselves, even using the bodies of my trees in their construction.  Sometimes, they had the mercy of being hidden behind stone but at others their inner heartwood was exposed, and the shame burned through me like fire.

And it was through fire that I was finally able to get some revenge.  I am almost as afraid of it as my trees are but when the opportunity presented itself I knew I could not turn back.  The humans had built a fire out of dead wood and were sitting around it making their horrid noises.  It was beyond the trees but near enough for me to reach, and so I summoned up the wind that was winding its way joyfully through the branches.

“Help me,” I begged and the wind responded.

It came roaring out of the forest like a wild thing, slamming into the fire, scattering the flaming sticks into the faces of the humans.  Soon, there were only piles of ash where they had been; it is still my most savoured memory.

But it did not stop the humans from coming with ever more destructive tools, more effective ways of destroying more and more trees ever more quickly.  Now, my influence is a shadow of what it was.  What will happen to me, when the trees are all gone?

What will happen to the humans?

For they seem oblivious to the importance of trees, of all green, growing things.  A deep scar runs through the middle of my forest, churned up mud where once were bushes, flowers – and animals, birds, insects.  Now, the only sounds come from the machines, and my weeping.