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Just One More, No Big Deal
~ Dawn M Gibson
How many times do you hear, “Well, it is just one, what
difference will it make? One more tree, one forest, one
pond, one … one more...”?
Well, the mother tree sat there crying one day, and the
child who climbed her for years asked, “What is wrong?”
She replied, “I can deal with my branches breaking,
perhaps a trim or two, but what I cannot take are my children as they have been killed one by one.”
The boy asked, “Whatever do you mean?” She said, “Look around you. Do you remember the forest?” The boy replied, “No, sorry, I don’t, but I do remember the line of trees that kept the strong winds from coming, it broke the winds from coming in strong, they once held the ground solid from the soils being washed away, many may have fallen, but there was always the back up.”
Mother tree smiled, “Yes, dear boy, this is also true. There was one a forest here, near the river bend. We were many, family of many kinds, pine tree, willow, and birch and more. We lived and shared our space, held the soils from washing away, shaded the grass and were home for many animals, birds nested, squirrels, and so on. Then these people came and called us junk, said we were of no use. They cut us down some used us, which was fine as we became useful for fires keeping them warm, homes, and fences for their animals. Many of our family still remained.”
“Then as more people moved in they cleared us out more, but they didn’t use us; they threw us away and never thanked us. Our family began to thin out; people claimed it was for the good of us that remained. They saw shorter trees and blamed the taller ones. They saw trees they preferred better and claimed the others took their sun and space. Then there was a line of us which held up the winds and snows, but we deeply missed the others. You see they help us with the burden of pressure from those harsh winds and snows. We held together a bond humans will never understand. We all had a purpose; we all had a reason, and we all loved one another. Our roots intertwine which made us stronger and held us together. Now even those few remain will never be as strong. I watched day after day. Even though I whined and creaked, no one would listen as they cut down my sons and daughters before me. I am old, and I am not able to protect as much as I once did. The people will soon cut me down, and you will no longer have me as a place to climb, and meditate, to swing from, and to have shade and shelter.
Those birds you love to watch grow will no longer have a home; the squirrels you watch tussle and play will no long have a place. The raccoons and the porcupines that need older trees will be homeless, and there are not enough treed to replace my space. You see son, I am 100 years old with my stories, many memories, and I cry as I am the last of my kind. Yes, true, there are other trees, but none like me, and the others serve a different purpose. I shall miss you dear boy, as in time you may remember me and the fun you had, but as you grow, I will be just another tree cut down because humans think it is for the better. Soon the soil will erode, the banks will fall, and there will be no shade and one less tree giving off clean air. I shall miss you dear boy, remember me.”
The boy tearfully stated, “I shall not let it be.” He climbed the tree and tied himself to the tree. His father came along and asked, “What you are doing?” The son stated, “This tree is not for sale; this tree will not be cut down today!! This tree, my father, I want as my inheritance and nothing more.” The father stated to the boy angrily, “Boy, you are being silly. Get down from that tree; we have a building to build here.” The boy replied, “NOT TODAY!! This is MY TREE!! I will resist you until you stop terrorizing my tree!!” The man replied that the tree was old, falling apart, and worthless. The boy stated, “She is well enough for me to remain up here, isn’t she? I can wait all week; she is shading me. I have no place to be.” In time, his friends came and knew how much this boy enjoyed his time with the tree. He had climbed it since he was able to, built his tree house, which they all shared and had swung within. These swings used as they would spring off into the water, or just swing across the ground and they knew how much this tree meant. These childhood friends joined their friend. The father asked the boy, “Now tell me, just what will it take for all of you kids to come down. You will starve!!” The boy replied, “Give me a solemn promise I can have this tree remain and own the land surrounding it.” The father replied, “You are crazy. What will you do with this tree?” The boy replied, “I will regrow these trees as they once were, save the banks from landslides, and renew the life that once was.” The father had agreed. Although he would lose money, his son luckily was worth more. The son took the small seedlings from around the tree and transplanted them along the banks. He researched and found tree saplings that once grew here. Grandmother tree said, “thank you.” In time, the trees grew, and the tree had gotten old and looked dead. The animals came back to live in her, for some animals like the dead and hollow trees. Her roots still held that soil in place. The boy was happy as the years went by, this land for years would become safe as long as the conservation held their promise to leave as it was.