Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Tree

There is a tree in a clearing. It is a strange tree, dark and twisted, with broad, dry leaves. The grass around it is gray and brown, though it is the height of spring and the surrounding woods are green and full of birdsong. This is a tree out of time, a tree of winter. It sways slowly to an icy wind that only it can feel.

It is not wise to approach too near this tree. But if you look carefully, between gnarled buttress roots, a small figure huddles, sleeping. A youth, ragged and cold, approached the tree in an early winter storm. He was near the end of his strength and hungry, and did not know how far he had come or how far he must still go. He had lost the road and had been following the sun, but the wind rose and the clouds grew and he soon had no guide. He saw the tree, though, and took shelter from the storm. And now, he sleeps.

He has been sleeping, fitfully and shivering, for maybe an hour. He will wake soon to find his winter long over, and a world that has passed him by.

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