Tuesday, October 21, 2014

birthday part 2

"one thousand years ago today i fell off my parent tree, and began to root immediately!" "you lucky bastard (sic). i had to crawl for weeks before i found a place. terrible soil! the parent was almost dead, it was his last yield."

"and no sun either, i suppose," says the third one, rolling his 'eyes'.

"it wasn't very good sun," she replies seriously, then turns back to her friend. "but you! sun, good soil, your parent right there..."

"yes, he was young and the leaves were thin. there was plenty for both of us."

"some people have everything, eh?" says the third one, bitterly.

"oh, what about you?" she asks belatedly.

"oh, i have a story of woe far beyond yours, young one. i had to roll into the stones and stay DORMANT for centuries! then the ash covered the land. that went on and on. it was cold, but i slept. others were not so lucky. when i finally emerged, i knew that many of my half-siblings had perished. i was alone. there in that dusty soil i struggled to find enough nutrient. the clouds blew over the sun, night and day. somehow, i rooted. but i was never able to grow large, nor to send out offshoots. all my life, alone. no fruiting, no leaf exchange. finally, the ash returned and i slowly lost life. petrified, i remained conscious a few more decades, and then discharged. i knew nothing, until i woke up here."

thr first two are silent. that small gnarled tree, blown by the bitter winds against the rocks, for so many centuries...they were humbled, and sad. now the troubles of sun-competition, inadequate harvest, water retention, seemed as nothing. how could they have wasted so many cycles on bemoaning it? poor elder, never once to sit in full sun, never even to exchange a leaf-message with a friend. how could it be borne?

the old one laughs. "but i had the joys of becoming stone! that you will never know. the peace that passeth understanding! the pure solidity."

suddenly the sunny days and leafing seem as small potatoes (sic). but one must make the best of it.

i hear it's your birthday!

floating in space, we reminisce.

"back on earth, it's my birthday now," says one. "and mine was last week," says another, and they compare notes. the cards, the presents! the free pizza at dominos! "what about you?" they say to a third.

"oh, we didn't have birthdays as such, " he says modestly. and as the rest exclaim with surprise, "there's mother-laid-the-egg day, there's the initial cracking of the shell, and final emergence day. the shells are very tough."

"wow, you get three of them! do you send cards?"

"well...something like that."

"twas forty years
since the egg was laid
that contained you, wonderful you!
the shell is no more
but we hope you will continue
a hundred other seasons
and lay caches by the score!
upon that distant shore"

(i was just at the reproductive age, he explains)

"wow, i never got a card like that." says mike.

"actually, they were leaves, large leaves."

"oh, ok."

"my ancestor transmuted me on this day 17.5 great cycles ago," says one hitherto silent.