Dawn was gradual, first it was just a slight lighting of the horizon line and then the sun peaked its head up from its long sleep and she awoke. The birds cried out as rays of pure light danced across the forgotten place she had come to garden. The ground was barren, scorched by children who knew no better. She was patient, she was kind, and a child could not turn her away from her task.
She sang back to the birds as a slight breeze wound through the new spring leaves. The sound made her laugh as she set upon her garden with an open heart. The children would call this a field, they would run their teeth into the ground and pull all the life from it. She would show them. She would garden to repair the ills done here. She cast her hand out and from her fingers sprang a million seeds. They caught on the wind and blew into the field. She called to each of them and bid them a fond farewell for her little soldiers would live but a short life.
She rejoiced as the rains came in and beat upon her garden, she watched it soak into the ground and to feed those who she had planted. The sun shown again and the field was once again green. The shades made her dizzy, the leaves and the smells of growing things in the sun. She basked in the beauty of her soldiers, for children called them weeds, but she knew better.
They called to her and she wound her fingers among them as gentle as any mother would. Her feet made no impression as she walked over the ground and threw more seeds into the mix. She bade the birds to join her and soon thicket could be seen among her soldiers. There the birds came home and with them brought more seeds. She gladly threw these into the garden around her.
Now she called the animals to her. They came gladly to take up the sweet grasses and young twigs too long for their parents to house any longer. She sank her hands into the soft fur of fawns as they passed her by. Their eyes saw everything as trees sprang up around them.
She walked among the branches, speaking softly to her sapling. They called to her and she brought them water on a hot summer day. She told them to look deeper, to reach for the center of the Earth where the ground will anchor you for a hundred years.
As the trees darkened the sky above her, she was content. This was the garden for which she strove, a balance between the webs she’d woven so carefully. She saw the spider now in the morning dew. It spun its trap to catch the fly and she beamed as she watched for a while the slow, delicate work.
She came upon a tiny stream her woods had created. One day it could be a mighty river, but for now it merely bubbled from the ground and tumbled over pebbles in the direction it was pulled. She brought more water for the tiny stream and told it to dream of the ocean, but also of the purpose that lay here within her forest. It was a caretaker, much like the sun and the rain. She encouraged the stream to gather to itself minerals and to give these freely.
Winter came once again and she slept, but she slept easy knowing that her trees gave to the birds berries for the cold days and bark to those who walked on four legs. She slept knowing that spring would come again with a promise.
She could not have known.
Spring woke her, not with the song of the birds she so loved, but with the wine of those children called machines. The animals fled in terror as the trees were felled one by one. She wept for her children, for their innocence and for their ignorance. Children dragged the trees away and brought claws to rip the great roots from the ground. She gathered the rain to fill the scars and soften the wound. Still children came, they again sank their teeth into the ground and the land was lain bare once again.
She sighed as her children came along the row and sank deep a single kind of seed for as far as their eyes could see. She walked among these plants now the sun shining down upon them. Silly children, she thought, I shall show you.
Once again she opened her hand and her soldiers flew from her fingers. They moved in between those the children had planted and she smiled as the space they’d forgotten became green again. She let the sun shine heavy on her soldiers as she encouraged them to go deep for nutrients and to be generous to your neighbors. She called the birds back, but they were once again frightened as children came and poisoned her plants. She cried in agony as her soldiers were left to wither and die. She came to those who remained and begged them to survive and to grow, for it is hard for children to learn a lesson.
She spread out her hand again and loosed more soldier. She gave these water and for a while she danced in the rain. The plants of her children grew tall and their tassels blew in the wind to tickle her face. By now the children were unbothered by the life she had sown under their crop and she rejoiced for it seemed that finally they had begun to listen. She called to the birds and to the animals and they came to walk among the greens.
Her children came again and shooed them all away, for they were greedy. Again she sighed and looked upon her children with pity. It must be so lonely upon your throne, for devoid of joy and wonder.
Soon their teeth returned and the tassels were cut where they stood. They cried out to her and she wept for them as the land was once again laid barren.
When her children had gone to sleep she padded over the soil, she could smell the richness of it draining away as she watered it. It grieved her greatly. Soon her children would learn.
She spread her fingers and sent forth her soldiers once again. They sang to her and called her mother. She smiled at them, but in her eyes a single tear remained unshed. The birds were gone, and animals were scared and before her lay a graveyard of memory. Still she knew she must send them to die. She must garden those places her children sought to destroy for if ever she were to falter ruin would be brought to all.
Soon her children would learn. So she prayed as she gardened.