Thursday, 6 January 2011

Once was Forest

This island used to be forest.

"When I was a girl" said my grandmother, "I used to get lost in the trees when I was visiting friends. But never when I was grown up, there just weren't enough trees to get lost in".

When I was young there were still a few groups of trees on the island. Some were big enough that if you tried very hard you could imagine trees stretching out in all directions to meet the see. You did need to try very hard though.

I made a den in one of the trees. I liked to sit there quietly and listen to the birds. Yes there were birds here when I was very young.

The other children thought I was strange, sitting in the trees, watching birds. They all just wanted to fight each other or throw stones at the goats or daydream about escaping across the sea to strange new lands.

My mother loved the trees too but "some things just pass away" she said, "and trees are just one of those things".

My father sharpened his axe as she said this and kept quiet. He rarely met my eye.

It's years since I visited the part of the island where I had my treehouse. I can't bear to see the empty plain that it has become.

The island is so dusty these days. There's always a hot dry wind that catches up the red dust and throws it into our eyes.

Today everyone is gathered round the tree at the top of the highest hill. I tried to stop my brother going out to chop down this last tree, but he pushed me aside. I'm glad my mother and grandmother are no longer around to hear the steady chopping that seems to echo across the island.

There's a huge crash then silence before what sounds like a muffled cheer. I sit motionless on my chair and watch the sun set, red as blood into the sea.

6 comments:

DazyDayWriter said...

Very moving, Juliet. The changes we witness in nature can be difficult to accept or understand. Maybe a few haiku could flow from this. Did you the contest link on my FB page from the Haiku Foundation? Don't know if you enjoy contests, or not, but you are a sure winner. This topic alone inspires so many thoughts about life, change, and the spiritual forces at work in the universe. Best always, Daisy

bunnygirl said...

Nice allegory. I don't think humans are incapable of living in balance with nature, but too many just don't see the priority in it.

Michelle May said...

Ditto to what Bunnygirl said.
xx, shell

Elizabeth Rimmer said...

Excellent - really well written and effective!

Eliza said...

So disturbing.... and it really is happening to the rainforests. Sad, but so well written.

gabriellebryden said...

Brilliant writing - the ending is perfect!