A Maple Tree, Chapter 9
These expansive small town hills that are the Northwestern United States today were once a thick and mighty forest, one of the most far reaching and beautiful blankets of foliage and fauna in the world in its great green golden years. Maple trees lived among oaks, firs, squirrels and the native people. They dripped their sap out in sugary delight, happy to be an aspect of survival to the tribesmen and insects who were all joined together in a cyclic give and take, all instruments in the larger organism of life in general. It’s an old story with a brutal ending, where a foreign parasite invaded and reduced this great wood to merely a few remaining trees, boats made from the death of the old world’s forests and carrying the sicknesses and pestilence and ravage that is the white man.
Early settlers felt like conquerors of this domain and took pride in felling trees to the ground, champions over nature. It’s understandable that a people so ravaged by their first winters in this place would feel it necessary to conquer Mother Earth, her having squeezed them to the point of extinction or driving them back to their European oppression coupled with the fact that they’d been doing this for centuries in their own lands, but the idea that the natives helping them to learn how to exist in this world weren’t able to see the settlers’ disregard for the land is slightly baffling.
Fingers have been pointed, decades have past, and nothing will ever be the same. That said, the trees are still around, and they’re still doing their part. And the people have gotten a little better on their end as well. Some of them anyway.
The maple tree behind Annie’s house was standing particularly tall today. And why not, it was a friendly day in the neighborhood. A bee did its best to buzz, a piece of lint drifted through the air after having spent the morning in a small child’s belly button and a raspberry bush two yards over had been winking in a particularly enticing fashion all day. The maple sucked up a large gulp of carbon dioxide, stood as straight as a tree, and made a small rustling sound as the wind hurried off to work for the day.
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