Surprise! No ferret story this week, but I am sharing an old piece I wrote during a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Honestly, it had nothing to do with what was going on, but I did have a druid character, so there was that.
It’s a feel-good story, so no worries!
There once was a tree, all gloriously decked out in emeralds during hotter months. Yet each autumn, leaves of jade turned to ashen browns and sickly blacks and refused to fall free. There the lackluster leaves stayed till warmer months came.
The tree felt ashamed. While others turned brilliant, all decadent in their glimmering gemstone colors, this tree couldn’t even boast a worthy tiger’s eye. The leaves looked more fitting for a grave than a healthy celebration of the season.
No matter how the tree shook in those harsh winter winds, those dreary reminders held fast. Even the snapping chill of a winter freeze wouldn't free the tree of its dead leaves.
One early fall day, a druid walked through the woods. As she enjoyed the fall colors, a voice of the forest called out for help.
“What is it you need?” the druid asked the tree.
“I need leaves that are vibrant with color. Leaves that shine dazzling in the sun. Leaves that will disperse at the first snow and leave me burden free!” the tree replied, desperately.
“I see.” The druid paused for a time in thought. “Are you jealous of these trees of ruby, amber, and gold?”
“Yes,” the tree replied.
“Are you jealous of their leaves which fall so fast?”
“Yes,” the tree replied. “It is not fair. I have nothing to endear me so to those like you.” Though in truth, the tree wanted leaves it could be proud of, too.
“Hmm,” the druid said mysteriously. “You're wrong, you know.”
The tree didn't reply, so the druid continued.
“I have lived long and seen much. A tree such as you holds the greatest of treasures in those darkened leaves you so despise.”
The tree groaned and creaked in disagreement.
“Each autumn, what do the squirrels do?”
The question caught the tree by surprise. “Why, they collect and hide their nuts, so they have food for colder months.”
“You complain of brown leaves that won't come free. Yet those leaves do so well in hiding brown squirrels from hungry hawk eyes. And what of those small brown and black birds too weak or too stubborn to fly south to escape the cold? With leaves of your color, they all have a place to hide. With leaves that cling all winter long, they have a shelter against winter storms. Would you give this up?” the druid asked. “For fine leaves of amber, ruby, or gold? For leaves that won't last till spring comes again?”
The tree made no reply. It needed time to think, and after a while, it told the druid so.
“I'll see you in the spring,” was the druid’s mysterious reply.
Spring came and the druid returned. Brown and black leaves still clung to the tree, though droplets of peridot had begun to bud as well. Birdsong hovered in the area around the tree, and even the druid was hard pressed to spot individual birds or squirrels that flittered and dashed between the branches.
“Have you made up your mind?” the druid asked of the tree.
“I have. I think I'll keep my leaves.”
Photo by: Flora Westbrook
May your adventures be many and your inspiration be endless!