Well, aren’t you a beautiful tree!
Look at you. Just look at you!
You are so straight up and down. So proud. Like someone planted (plonk!) a large pole into the ground, and there it stands, straight up and down. And you aren’t even a pine tree—those are always the straightest ones.
Look at you! You are so beautiful.
But, why would someone plant a pole in the ground? No, you grew that way. Out of a seed. You pushed yourself out of a seed! That part is the most amazing of all. How damn little you were, and how big you grew! I am in wonder of you.
I wonder how long it took you to become this tall, this straight. How much did you grow each year? Did you pass years when you grew less? When you grew more? What does it feel like, to grow? I wonder what it feels like.
I wonder how many winters you went through, and if they were tough, or if your bark was warm. Did squirrels and sparrows nest in your branches, using your leaves and twigs? I wonder if they called you home.
I wonder if those large and amazing branches were able to hold you and sustain you—and why do they grow like that? What made you grow a branch there? Just there—what would happen if you hadn’t done that?
I wonder how many of your seeds turned into other large and straight trees, and if they are nearby or far away, carried by the wind or perhaps an odd goose. Do you think they all germinated? How many seeds have you produced over the years, I wonder, how many? What is the furthest one has gone from you? To Manchester? Perhaps? That would be a long way, but with the right conditions, yes, I bet they could do it. I know they could. I wonder if they did. I wonder if I could harvest them, if that would make me happy.
Now let me walk around you. I bet your back is as sharp and shapely and tall as your front.
I walk around you, a circle broad enough to allow near perfect reflection. Near perfect reflection is always possible with enough distance, don’t you agree? You just stay there, like someone planted (plonk!) a large pole into the ground.
Oh dear me. Tree . . . dear me.
I see . . . yes, there it is. Well, you’re almost all straight up your trunk. You’re almost straight. Almost straight up and down. Only from this side, slightly, what is this, north? Slightly to the north. You lean. Just a bit, just a tiny fraction of a bit.
It’s, well, I would call it a tilt. I hate to tell you this, I hate to inform you. Here you are, standing so tall and straight, standing in a field like someone planted (plonk!) a large pole into the ground.
And you tilt. You tilt to the north, yes.
But I doubt anyone would notice. No. No one would. I only noticed because I was looking at you, noticing you. Because I really like you, I feel quite in awe of you.
Although, if you took a little off the sides, you could be straight again. I’ll think about it, for you, how to do it. I’ll think about how to take off your bark. Maybe that would do it. Maybe if we put up a pole next to you for a few years, it would make you straight. Like braces, for you.
Let me go home and see if I have a pole, it’ll help. We’ll tie you to it, straight. Don’t worry, Tree, you are almost perfect, and I’m going to make you perfect.
Oh wait, you know, I just thought of something.
Two nights ago, I had a dream. Yes, it’s coming to me now. It was a dream, though very real nevertheless, that I swung down off your branches, back and forth and all over you. But then, gosh, your branches broke. I fell. I fell on my back on the ground.
Stunned and lifeless, there was a certain fullness to the air. You seemed to be alive, taunting me. Reaching down to life up something vital from me.
I think I’ll leave you now, tree. I don’t feel quite like myself. Upon near perfect reflection, I would not say that I like you very much at all.
I think I’ll head home. But which way is home, the horizon fades and your bracing structure covers the last possible light.
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