An Unlikely Love
The ancient tree held a vault of memories, tangled deep within the earth. All she had to do was see the memories, breathe them, and they came back to her. She never slept anymore – somehow, she knew death was encroaching – so most days and nights were spent reminiscing of her younger days. The youthful world.
She breathed in the scent of the forest and felt squirrels climb her branches, leaping from place to place. She saw her favorite young foxes. Families of birds came and went, year after year – as certain as the arrival of her leaves in the spring and their departure in late autumn.
She remembered the man, too. The one who built a stand in her thick branches decades ago. He often climbed up there with equipment dangling from his neck, or sometimes he pulled it out of his pack.
Something about the nearly silent click click click of his device made her happy. Many languid mornings and lazy afternoons were spent holding him in her arms. She wasn’t sure why he was there or what he was doing, but he seemed fascinated by the forest animals. She grew to love him.
One day he stopped coming, and the tree never saw him again. Her last human contact was with two boys who stumbled through the woods, carrying long metal rods over their shoulders.
As she felt the rot start to creep in, she remembered the man: his silvery beard, sandpapery hands, and gentle demeanor. She didn’t know the sound of his voice because he never spoke.
But the thought of his half-decayed stand still nestled in her branches brought her peace, for they were still connected – would always be – somehow.
At long last, she slept.
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