It had been twenty-four years since she’d last seen it but the place looked exactly the same. Her childhood home. It stood there abandoned, alone, lost. Its foundation was crumbling. The siding was beyond repair, paint stripped, shattered front porch, swaying front door. And then she said her first word. It was a whisper. An utter. Its echo fighting against the wind, rain. She blinked back her tears.
But she was there. And that was all that mattered. The woods had taken in it to become part of the forest, welcomed it, and enveloped itself in it. She had grown up there basking in the sun, quenching her thirst with her family, eating, playing, dancing.
She had three sisters, one was older, one was younger. But despite their age differences, they grew up harmoniously. And that was all that mattered.
Her personality had changed over the years. As she was the last in her family that was healthy, alive, and hadn’t gone away like her old house she had to change. She couldn't be her normal playful happy self. She couldn't be forgiving and just like her father. She couldn't be fierce and bold like her mother. She couldn't be popular and cool like her older sister. She couldn't be giggly and shy like her younger sister. She had to change tremendously. So she became them all. Playful, happy, forgiving, just, popular, cool, fierce, bold, giggly, and shy. That was her. And that was all that mattered.
She sat there looking at her home in the middle of the forest she loved. In the morning, staring at the sun she cherished. In the afternoon peering at her reflection in the water that she adored. Absorbing the glance of the soil that she had once made mud pies in. That she loved. Being there was all that mattered.
She thought over the days that she looked about how beautiful nature is. The way the wind caresses the leaves of trees just like it massages her hair. The way water rains down and supplies plants with the nutrients they need just like it relieves her thirst. The way the soil is overlooked even if just one acre may contain 900 pounds of earthworms, 2400 pounds of fungi, 1500 pounds of bacteria, 133 pounds of protozoa, 890 pounds of arthropods. The way that plants stretched to the sky the way she had while jumping on a trampoline with her younger sister. The way the sky is blue and the shade of its hue reflects the pond behind her house.
She didn't take short walks like her father always longed to do, she stayed rooted to her spot. She liked freedom. She didn't have it. Growing up she didn't. Knowing the reality was all that mattered. Her mother had always called her and her siblings ‘seedlings’ when they were young. Plants were a big part of her childhood. She sat there thinking about her youth as she looked at her home that cared for it. She had memorized millions of plant names. For example trees The English Oak in Turkey, The Black Walnut in North America, Redwood in California, Atlas Cedar in the Mountains of Morocco and Algeria, Baobob Tree in the Saharan Africa, Teak native in India. She repeated 68 other trees to herself before she started on annuals, cacti, and succulents, indoor plants, poisonous plants, stinky plants……… Being there was all that mattered.
All in the world. That was the only importance to her. The forest really was a beautiful place to be in. That is why she loved it so much. The luscious moss that covered the sweet-smelling bark. The birds seemed to drift around her and talk to her. Nobody interrupted her on her sitting. If you didn't count the bees and dragonflies.
She sat and relaxed and lay and rested until she couldn’t anymore. The urge to feel out of range from everyone else.
But something was missing. She ignored it again.
A time comes in life when you want to give up. But you don’t. At all, because you have something that is telling you to go on. A reason. A drive. A mentality. She had that. But ever since she had come to her home… It was slipping away, fading. She was indeed turning into something she never had. She was turning strange. Very strange. As long as she was still there that was all that mattered. Days passed and those turned into weeks. Staring at her home gave her a feeling she didn't want to ignore. A different drive. A different mentality. A different home…………
Soil degradation is the decline in soil condition caused by its improper use or poor management, usually for agricultural, industrial, or urban purposes. It is a serious environmental problem. It took her parents. And siblings. And here she was stuck to a plant waiting until the moment where she can leave her childhood home. The patch of dirt had many weeds. She enjoyed being there. She watched the stars pass. The rivers gush. She thought. She looked. She let go.
She drifted high in the air. She broke off from the plant that rooted her to the ground with his own roots. Her fellow seeds were dispersed. She was a true seedling. Waiting to find her destiny. Her second home. Her helicopter wings whirring. She floated above her home, her forest, her memories…….. She reminded herself that she was in charge of her boat. She sailed the wind like a tamer taming a lion. Its ferocious jaws in control. She drifted upwards unafraid. She gazed at the earth pass by her. Green, red, orange, brown, yellow……….
She was descending ever so slowly. She landed on a patch of moss where she settled comfortably. Her new home. A small stream gliding over a ledge creating a small waterfall. Trees towering above her which she knew she would soon rival. She sat there waiting for her own roots to nestle in. To form. She was finally there. And that was all that mattered.