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Yarom couldn’t understand it, refused to accept it. His kind had covered the earth for over 370 million years, far beyond the time humans came into being. And yet they were the ones to decide the future for all? To pollute, to spoil, to slay for their own gain, while all other species were meant to passively accept such an unjust fate?
“They wipe out more than half of us since they’ve been here, and we’re just supposed to stand by and continue to serve, serve, serve?!” Yarom said with such disgust. “To keep sacrificing ourselves for their air, their homes, their lives?!”
All the elders in his patch of the woods were silent in shame, unable to respond to the outrage each new generation would show when learning of a tree’s destined existence, until the youth too had no choice but to accept.
“And so it has been since man chose ego over coexistence,” Albion, the eldest and supposedly wisest among them finally said. “A tree’s purpose is to do just that, serve, alongside the rest of nature, the all-knowing Mother Earth being the one and only who decides the circumstance of those who inhabit her.”
“No… There has to be more to it,” Yarom insisted. “The humans, they believe in taking charge of one’s destiny. Well, some of them anyway. Why can’t we?”
“You’ve been listening to those owls too much, Yarom,” his little sister Eleni said. “I hear you at night, when everyone else is sleeping. Buzz, buzz, buzz. Like Xanthe over there with all his bees!”
They all laughed.
“They know what they speak of,” big brother defended. “The stories they have… The knowledge they have on the humans. You all would be better served if you thought outside the norm every now and then. There’s a higher level of understanding out there.”
“Is that where your attention is?” one of the trees in the distance asked. “When the rest of us are preserving soil, conserving water, supporting wildlife, improving the air, you spend your energy dreaming up in the clouds? Wishing you could fly with your owls friends to far off fanciful places? Only to be left covered in their waste when you wake every morning?”
The laughter was now so shared that all the shaking leaves created a gentle breeze.
“Time to grow up, Yarom. Leave the fairytales for Eleni. Time to grow into that bark and take on your role as a server.”
Let them bask in their ignorance. I’ll show ‘em one day. I’ll show ‘em all. While they’re standing by idly waiting to be chopped down I’ll be fighting for our future. They’ll see!
Books: That’s the only good thing humans ever used trees for Yarom thought as he waited for midnight to arrive. It was his favorite time of the 24-hour cycle, the other half of nature’s world coming to life as his kind slept. And although it was true that he really enjoyed the company of the owls and their infinite wisdom, what the others did not know, including his little nosey sister, was the conversations he’d have with moon. These discussions were unlike the ones they had down here on earth. They didn’t involve words, but feelings instead. Waves of energy being shared between he and the great white circle in the night’s sky. An unexplainable connection he had first discovered when he had first began to question a tree’s purpose. That was before he even reached adolescence, and now that he was entering adulthood he and the moon had had many years to get to know each other.
Through their sharing of energy moon knew, and understood the thoughts, dreams, aspirations of Yarom, and like a father figure he was always there to listen to the young tree, to console, believe, be there when no one else took the time to truly listen.
Moon had told Yarom that he would have something special for him on his first night of adulthood and that it would involve the special purpose he had always known he had. The young tree had patiently waited with such hidden excitement for this night to come, and now that it had finally arrived it was all he could do to keep the secret to himself. A secret he himself had no clue of. But he did have a feeling that the owls knew something about it, for they didn’t fly in to perch atop his branches like they had done every night before.
When midnight finally rolled in Yarom was already reaching up high above with all his energy to connect with moon, only this time the strength of the spirit that grabbed hold of him was so much stronger.
With a gravity that took hold every inch of his being Yarom felt as though he was being uprooted, only from all directions, the force growing so strong he was afraid he would be ripped into oblivion.
But amid this all-encompassing pressure moon assured the young tree that all would be alright, and as his bark began to constrict to the point of breaking apart and falling away his great friend high above began to reveal to Yarom his new purpose. That in order to beat them he must walk among them, appear to be one of them.
Yarom now understood what this meant, a small part of him saddened that he would no longer be such a vital extension to the earth. No longer would he feel the peace of being one of her many vessels in sustaining life. But yes, by now it was merely a matter of keeping things alive, not flourishing, the days of proliferating with both beauty and thriving sustenance long gone.
Yes… Take me… Transform me… I will serve best as one of them… Yarom thought as he submitted to the metamorphosis, his leaves joining some of his outer bark in falling away, the rest of his husky skin thinning out while his inner bark, cambium, and other layers became veins, tendons, muscles.
It was quite euphoric actually, the combining process that would leave him as both man and tree, the outer portion being a perfect specimen of one of them, his inner core, his heart, his soul, still remaining perennial.
And then it was done. Yarom felt significantly smaller, much more condensed, yet in a way freer. He looked down at his new form. Stretched his fingers, flexed his muscles, caressed his face.
Felt his Mother Earth at his feet. So distant he now was from her, no longer connected by roots, yet strangely enough he still felt a part of her, taking his first steps on these things called legs, these limbs that would allow him to be mobile, to take this new body and go out into the world and explore.
To seduce, to conquer, to begin to take back the earth.
Eleni was the first to awake, the birds tickling her branches as they sang their morning melodies. Like every morning she stretched, yawned and felt her place among her kind, the sense of completion that went along with being attached to Mother Earth.
But them she felt something different: something missing, an emptiness she didn’t really understand. That is until she looked over to her right, for the first time in her young life not seeing her big brother there at her side. Her gaze fell, scared that she would find nothing but a trunk, a stump, the horrifying thought that man had come in and chopped her dear brother down.
But just as logic told her that such a thing would have been impossible to happen without her hearing it her gaze did not find the remains of Yarom, but rather a deep hole where he once stood.
Another first for Eleni, she was unable to say a single word, the others who surrounded her waking to display the same reaction.
Collectively they both mourned and lauded for their beloved Yarom, knowing deep down inside that he had somehow, someway indeed found his purpose.