to me

Everything was silent.

My leaves rustled in the breeze.

Things have been changing lately.

The man who came into this hidden clearing every so often had been different. His visits were more frequent, and he was no longer just sitting and thinking, no longer just coming to this place to allow himself to breathe. When he came – which was nearly every day – he came in rage, grief, fear. I was not sure what was causing him to enter this secret place and weep and tear the limbs of my brothers to pieces. But he came. He exploded. He let out every emotion that had been building up inside of him. And then he left.

He had always been so careful not to harm me. He didn’t care about my brothers and sisters. Just me.

Today, when he came, he was carrying a rope. There were already tears staining his face, and he angrily wiped them away. He climbed to my highest limb and sat for a while. He spoke to me, calmly, and I learned his story. I will not disclose any of his tale to you, dear reader, for it is not my story to tell, but I will tell you that I learned how broken this man was as he sat amongst my branches.

He tied the rope tightly to the limb he was sitting on. The other end became a loop around his neck. His palms pressed against me, a silent gesture of gratitude.

I was the only was who heard his last words. They were red words – scarlet fury, bloody fear, crimson grief.

“I…” He took a deep, trembling breath. His hands were shaking. “I cannot allow these men to take over my life. Everything I’ve worked so hard for. My family has disappeared. My universe is crashing down around me. I refuse to live by the laws of these men. I simply can’t do it anymore.”

And with that, he let himself fall. The rope caught him before he hit the ground, and I heard the snap of his neck.

A man who was once a hero now hangs dead from my limbs.

Things have been changing lately.

My leaves rustle in the breeze.

Everything is silent.


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