Writing has been on my mind quite a lot lately, so I figured I would share a short story I wrote two years ago around this time in honor of the beginning of September. Although my fiction writing is not the best, this piece is by far one of my favorite works I have written. I find the story calming due to it's Autumn vibes and how it reminds me that even when things go wrong in life, there is always an opportunity to begin again. I hope you enjoy!
"To Begin Again"
As a human, we don't remember being born. It's strange, because it is the first time we experience anything. It is our beginning. For trees, it’s different. The second the sapling blossoms out of the soil and into the bright sunlight of this world, it remembers. The truths of past lives flood its soul. The tree’s instinct to climb and grow kick in.
The trees grow in families. The eldest tree stands the strongest. It is the leader. All of the members of their clan come from this tree. Wise and clairvoyant it stands. I often come to it in times of need, or whenever I feel my life becoming monotone. If you can listen, he tells stories of the past and tales from his youth. His children are the grandparents. They are caring and dependent on the rest of the family. Although the trees spend all of their time together, this generation tends to be introverted. They keep to themselves, knowing that their time is coming to an end. The parent generation is the busiest, as they are constantly moving and keeping watch. I cannot fathom how they balance taking care of the younger trees and guarding the family. The youngest trees are the most restless. I see them rustle with anxiousness. Quite honestly, I believe they wish that their roots were legs and that they could travel. They don't see how we get to live free while they are planted in the single location of their clan forevermore.
Today I have come to the trees for a distraction. I can't disclose what that distraction is from, or why I need solace, but I was tired and in need of guidance. I walk into the September Woods. Looking up into the overcast skies, I notice the trees and their dying leaves. While closing my weary eyes, I breath in the autumn air. Something is wrong. All of the trees rustle with anticipation. As I look down, my eyes rest on a tiny sapling. It was shaking in the wind just like the others. I walked through the leaf-covered forest floor to sit at the base of the eldest tree. The crunching of the dead leaves filled my ears as I crouched among roots. I sat there for a while before a dreadful thought filled my fatigued brain. Rising, I began my trek out of the woodland.
There is an ad in the local newspaper seeking construction workers to help build a new grocery store closer to town. I sigh, perusing the brightly colored advertisement showing happy shoppers holding lettuce and French bread. I decided to call to learn more. I wasn't seeking a job, I was just merely curious. I knew where the new store would be, but I wanted the spokesperson to confirm my fears. After thanking the employee, I hung up and wandered back into the forest.
My mind wanders too much to focus. All of the beautiful memories that I share with the September woods weave in and out of my brain as I revere in the sweeping grandeur of the scenery. With it's intricate layout and it's vast landscape, I have always came to this place. I began to remember the winter when the power was out for 2 whole weeks. After the snow reached one and a half feet, I trekked into the white abyss to see the forest. Without the thick cover of their leaves, you could see how their naked branches crossed back in forth as if they were reaching out, like one last plea before their branches broke due to the weight of the thick, fluffy powder.
I left the woods by nightfall. Tomorrow they would begin construction, and I needed to do something to save the family. I couldn't uproot a whole forest just to save them. I fell asleep with the deep dread of losing my greatest comfort.
I wake up sometime past midnight, knowing that I've got to do something to keep the family alive. I get dressed and run out of the screen door. It is dark. No, it is pitch black. I stumble until I find the beginning of the September Woods. Half asleep, I turn on my flashlight and enter my wooded home. I admire their leaves through the blunt illumination that it provided. They are finally beginning to take the golden hue that I always admired. After the job is done, I walk out of my whole and happy forest for the last time. I lay back down and re-enter my dreamless sleep.
The morning has come. I walk into the woodland with a sullen attitude. I stayed there and watched them cut down all of the trees and rip their roots straight out of the ground. They started with the youngest generation and mercilessly chopped until there was only the eldest tree left. It no longer swayed with fear like it did days before. It sat still and proud as it accepted its imminent death. As the chainsaw started up, I could feel the tree exhale with relief mixed with a desperate grief. I said goodbye to what was left of my September Woods as the tree lumbered and hit the cold, hard Earth with a lifeless thud.
I took the tiny sapling and planted it in the middle of my property that day. Now it is wise, just like it’s fallen family. It has saplings of its own and is growing old. That tree and I have a lot in common. Age is getting to both of us, and we both rely on each other. I provide the land, while it provides the comfort when needed. Now, the store is desolated and is scheduled to be torn down. When I unearthed the sapling and stole it from the forest that night, I didn’t know if my absurd plan would actually work. It was more of a desperate plea to keep my September Woods alive. To let it begin again. I think we can learn a lot about ourselves from the trees. Whenever our lives fall apart, we, ourselves, can begin again.
Thanks for reading!