Reader’s Choice (shiver): Evolution or Murder in the Forest?

Evolution or Murder in the Forest?

by Isabel Flynn

The old Mountain Ash stands at ease feeling her life force energy. With her roots gathering strength grasping the earth tightly, she takes one deep breath. A quiver goes up her mighty trunk, taken up by the branches and the lowest leaves fluttering in excitement. The shiver vibrates upward through all the leafage escalating faster and faster until it explodes out of the crown. Tiny vibrations fill the air with the joy of the morning, golden motes fly high and dance amongst the wind curls. There is electricity in the air. The ice crystals in the ‘toffee pulled’ nimbus streaks join the dance of summer.  The sun smiles.

Deep in her heartwood the tree is alive. Life has been good. Mistletoe caresses the canopy, and thick mats of moss provide tender comfort.

But communication has come through the feeder roots in the soil system from the other trees at the front. The foresters have returned and are culling what they deem dangerous. As her branches dip slowly up and down, trickles of water move up arteries to hydrate all of her individual parts. All work together synthesising a lullaby.

But she knows now there will be no more naps when drowsiness hits in the afternoon heat. At ninety-seven metres she is the tallest of the Eucalyptus Regnans in her community and proud of the fact she has lived to over two hundred and fifty years. She has buttressed herself to the forest floor for survival from wind, rain, snow and fire. Luck has also played a part in that she grew up in a distant corner. She was not harvested for the building industry where her name would have changed to ‘Tassie Oak’.

In Autumn, she blossomed snow white posies which evolved to gum nuts holding seeds ready to spill and generate her descendants. Now she prepares herself for the inevitable.

She shakes her head and the dried seed pods tumble.  She listens to the tinkle of the tiny nuts as they are carried to their birthing places by the evening breeze. One final murmur to her friends, a farewell sigh and she folds her foliage inward giving herself over to quiescence.

Isabel Flynn: I am new to writing and loving it too much. It has become a late addiction for this septuagenarian.

Our Reader said:
This sad story is told by a tree about to be cut down. It is very topical as we now understand that trees communicate and deforestation is such a force in global warming. Beautifully written.

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