Oh Cedar, My Cedar

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Can a tree know its fate?

Submitted: January 22, 2017

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Submitted: January 22, 2017

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Oh Cedar, My Cedar

by Michael Bussa

 

 

 

Oh Cedar, my Cedar, standing tall on the green. You reach for the skies to proclaim that you are – and will always be – there. Can a tree know its fate? Your season has come, an old soul that Spring. You prick up your needles to protect the new as they grow, quickly. How fresh and young you look again when the rains come to beat down your limbs. You are unmoved. And the winds rush in and whirl around you and rip at your needles and tear at your trunk with a vortex becoming stronger and more vicious with each circle, not once, but many times in the season – and you are unmoved.

 

Oh Cedar, my Cedar, you are stronger for having beaten him. You're stronger and greener and still more youthful. But as you have seen for over four hundred seasons, or more, the old souls do not move away on their own. They are pushed on by the next and you know what's in store.

 

Oh Cedar, my Cedar, be prepared for what is next. For none knows as you the long, dry Summer. He pushed in abruptly this time. If Spring had a face then Summer surely slapped it as he barged in unannounced. Gone were the rains and the cool breezes as Summer bore down without cloud, searing and burning, day after day, week after week. You stood proud and green and you were smart to hold your water. Let the day be one hundred degrees, you proclaimed, for you were prepared. You sipped your water and bore the radiant sun for months. You are unmoved. 

 

Oh Cedar, my Cedar, you shamed ole' Summer – you beat him, you did. But as you know there is another that follows. You look to the others around you as they transition their colors to reds, browns and yellows, of one shade or another. Not you. You stand proud and green and fresh like a giant sapling. Fall was never brutal as the others could so often be. He offered time to reflect, to connect, to belong to the rest of the forest. You are different, my Cedar. You arc and nod while the gentle breezes grow colder as weeks pass, as if to say goodnight to the others who sleep until Spring. But the arrival of another carries a familiar battle and he will most certainly come.

 

* * *

 

Oh Cedar, my Cedar, he burst upon you fiercely that night. That old bastard Winter. You woke to find two feet of snow burdening your limbs, weighting and tiring you, and your pride. How dare he? Does he not know how much older he is than you? You are determined, my Cedar. He starts with biting winds and your delicate needles cry. You comfort and assure them as the winds grow savage and colder with each passing day. Winter unloads another three feet of snow, then warms. The rains make heavy that cold, wet, blanket. You stand proud and hold your cries as you lose two limbs. You are unmoved.

Winter lowers his temperature and freezes the rain and it's unbearable for the first time in all of your days. Once again, you hold back the cries when another limb falls to the crusted snow beneath. You can do it, my Cedar. You have always made it.

The months of brutal winds and cold came to an end and you have endured the thrashing of your lasting life. Somehow you knew that you would stand through it all. You are the Dorian Grey of the forest. You'll never age – never die. You bob and you flex in the early March winds as if to tell us that you have withstood another merciless year and the old souls will never beat you – and you are right. For as March breezed in, calmly this time, you looked down to the ground around your trunk – what's that? Oh, no.

 

* * *

 

 

The lumber jack stood four feet from old Cedar. He patted its trunk and smiled as he looked up at its height. He licked his finger and held it up to the wind. This is my beauty, he proclaimed in thought. He drew the axe back til it was behind him, then, with all he could muster he swung it around his barrel-chested body and drove it into the trunk. Cedar finally cried out as the axe hit its target. Had he endured hundreds of seasons of storms, drought, snow, and ice, for this?

Oh Cedar, my Cedar, alas, you cannot win a battle with an enemy you do not know, for how will you fight? Once again, the man swung the axe, burrowing into the same spot when chunks of Cedar began falling to the ground. He continued chipping and hacking away at the trunk, and the chips fell as

Cedar screamed out. The man was relentless and he grew tired. He stopped only briefly to wipe the sweat, then continued, when all of a sudden came a resounding “CRACK!”

 

Oh Cedar, my Cedar, cry out, that he will hear you and stop. Cry loudly, Cedar, scream if you must! And he did. Cedar cried and screamed, then he whaled and moaned, but the man kept chopping. He cried so hard that another limb fell. In that moment was another sound of cracking, followed by splintering, then several more. The man looked up, then moved quickly to the right, and yelled, "TIMBER!”, and Cedar was no more.

 

 

 

 

 

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© Copyright 2017 Michael Bussa. All rights reserved.

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