The sun filters in a green cascade of rupturtered light through the canopy, banking on the moss ridden rocks and leaf strewn ground. All around is the twittering of birds and swishing of tails throughout the dense forest. In the center of it all stands a single sprout, rising up through the floor, the beginnings of a new life. The very air holds still in anticipation, for what seems a lifetime. Soon, everything restarts enmasse. Shivers of despondent disappointment happen all around.

The sprout has no idea what goes on around it, it's just learning and growing. Soon bugs and other critters are attracted to the area, sensing new life, another thing to destroy. The sprout is fine, it seems as though there was a force field protecting the sprout. Encouraging constant growth.

Years pass in this manner, the sprout grows into a big strong tree. The tense air of disappointment turns into a joyous playfulness that lasts a long time. The sprout now knows what the rest of nature is telling it. They whisper, you're not a sprout, you're an oak. Strong and sturdy. The oak listens in stillness. It thinks to itself, then I must be strong and resilient to everything. I must grow and get better as I go. I must help out and be good.

It always starts this way with nature. They're given a name that means something, something they hold up to. Some hold strong, some bend, some break, and some, some turn. The light burns, the animals feast, the plants poison, and the trees weaken or turn hollow inside. Fit for not a single use, then or in the future.

The oak started to do its duty when it grew big enough. It held its leaves above the ground as a shield, it dug its roots in to remain upright, it gave its flowers to help pollinate, and its trunk as a home. Animals, bugs, fungus, and plants of all kinds surround the oak. Whispers surrounding the area, of the sturdy oak, a new home for everyone came from all directions. In the branches, birds, squirrels, snakes, and bugs make their home in the nests they make. In the hollows they find. Underneath the bark, they crawl up and down. Vines trailing up and down the trunk and branches, filled with bright plants. Moss laid on the bottom, on the rocks and ground. Mushrooms found home near the moss, under the trailing vines.

The seasons passed in this manner. Spring bringing new growth to the whole of the forest. Summer bringing flowers and new life. Fall bringing the chill starting for the winter and the first deaths. Winter bringing death of a large quantity and the start of the new lives. The sturdy oak was doing its job, and hibernating when there was need for it. Still doing what it was intended to do while it was asleep. Animals huddling for warmth. Roots providing water for bugs. Fungus and moss chilling like it does.

One season, a chill settled over the forest. The ability to breathe deeply seemed to have been stolen. All could tell that something was wrong. The days passed by swiftly, but the sturdy oak was not responding to the whispers. The forest was in a state of panic. What was wrong with their sturdy oak? The oak was slow to respond to the panicky mumbles. But it did respond. It grew its leaves, it shook with the wind, but...something was off. It was no longer playful, the flowers seemed darker, the shade off by a millimeter or so.

In the time that it had been hibernating, it had grown weary, and so tired of doing its job. It was poisioned by its own thoughts, by it's own pain. It no longer wished to do its duty. It no longer wanted to be sturdy. So...it just decided not to be. It started out slowly. It slept longer, it produced less chlorophyll for leaves and flowers, it grew less in length so there wasn't as much shade. It knew that the rest of the forest saw the beginning, but they didn't know the half of the problem.

Slowly but surely, the sturdy oak started killing the forest all around it. From its roots to the edge of the forest. Its poison spread, secreted by the thoughts and feelings it couldn't give off. The animals never felt the warmth that the sturdy oak once gave off. Given by its playful demeanor, existing no longer. The bugs no longer crawled the bark. The vines shriveled up, lost in the desolation the oak feels. Only the fungus and moss stayed half alive. Able to feed off of the death that surround it.

The forest tried to help the oak tree to remain standing. They tried to talk to the grand sturdy oak. The oak didn't want their therapy. They tried to be the oak's tree to lean on. The oak didn't want to lean on them. Its shelter in the wind. The oak didn't think it needed a shelter. The oak tree was not receptive to any of the help given to it. It did not want to improve. It wanted to be left alone. It wanted to lay down and bleed away. Leak the shiny tears, falling one at a time. Flowing in a never ending river. Keep its gashes, marks left by life. Leave its scars unattended. Wear with pride, the issues that life has left. Tattoos of the soul, forever left on the trunk, and shaping the bark and tearing up the roots.

It was all leading off to a grand conclusion, a final epic. The sturdy oak, once bright and playful, fell. It just....stopped. Discontinued life. It gave up. It had no will to be sturdy, no will to laugh, no will to play. So as it is, in the grand scheme of life. Where you hold steady, where you break but get back up, or where you break and stay broken. The Dark Oak. 

August 14, 2019 01:50

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