Forest of Dreams: A History

My ghost stood in the window, staring out into the rain. Falling for what seemed like days in the darkness surrounding me, as the world was born anew. I walked outside in the forest and pitied myself, for I could not feel the rain, could not touch the moist earth underneath me. As I wandered on, I came across a clearing with a single tree. The tree was not remarkable except that it stood alone in the midst of the hundreds more. I crept closer to the tree, the rain still softly falling all around me, and looked at it. The tree was larger than it first appeared, but it was still smaller than the largest trees in the forest. It was an oak, its trunk was great and its leaves reached towards the sky, seemingly joyous of the rain that was still falling.

Suddenly, I was aware that the tree was aware. The tree truly was alive. The tree spoke to me; in fact, it had been speaking to me. Its voice was the swishing of leaves; the creaking of branches was the clearing of its throat. I wanted to tell it everything. I wanted it to tell me everything. I wanted to know everything that the tree knew, and I wanted to teach it whatever I could. I soon realized that there was nothing I could teach a tree. Trees don’t care about emotion. Trees don’t feel pain, don’t know envy, can’t tell joy from indignation. In this regard, I pitied the tree. I wanted it to know about these things and why they meant so much, but it just didn’t care. So we moved on, and I asked the tree to teach me what it knew.

It told me much, from being a small seed in the ground, to germination, to growing to where it was. I felt like I belonged somehow, but just as emotions didn’t interest the tree, tree feelings didn’t interest me. So I sat there with the tree, in quiet contemplation. We both thought, for a long time. The rain kept falling, soaking me to the bone. It wasn’t a cold rain; it was a warming, soothing rain. I realized that, even though I wanted to belong there, I didn’t. I left the clearing and wandered back to my window. It took me awhile to realize, but in the clearing, I had felt the rain. Anywhere else it passed right through me.

As hard as I’ve searched, I’ve never been able to find the tree or the clearing again. I may not belong there, but I want to visit it at least once more before I go onwards, wherever that may lead me.


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