River Wissey Lovell Fuller

A Tree Is For Life - Not Just For Christmas

June 2002

The thirteenth day of Christmas

Ah! What a great day. Nice cool crisp breeze, birds singing in the distance, wind gently rocking the trunk and branches as the sun warms the soul. Mind you, the cold times are coming soon; I could feel the difference today. The waking hours are shorter and the sleeping hours longer. It won't be long before the rain turns to snow and stretches the sinew of every bow to hold up the massive extra load.

OUCH! What was that! OUCH and double OUCH! That hurts! Will you please stop, whatever it is you think you are doing? OW! The pain is getting worse. That REALLY hurts. It feels like you're trying to cut bits off me. PLEASE leave me alone; I haven't hurt anyone, why am I being attacked? AHHH! That one really cut deep. I don't think I can take much more of this. I can feel myself moving too far from side to side, I think I am going to fall over!

This is it! It is finally happening. I had heard the whisper that something like this happens to some of the others when the snow comes, but why me! I always thought that it was just a story or something to scare the little ones but now I know its true. At least the pain has stopped but my roots are all uncovered and I can't stand up without earth to grip onto. I have heard so many stories about what happens now. Some say that they cut you up into little pieces so that you slowly die as all the life drains from your trunk and you end up lifeless and dry. Others say they throw you on a fire and burn you to death until all that's left is ashes. Either one sounds like the end of everything. Why can't they just leave me to get old and fall over on my own? At least that way I can keep dropping cones and perhaps one of them will take my place and continue the proud family tradition.

I can hear sounds like Crows chirping or Robins tweeting but it is different this time. There is certainly more than one of them as they are running around me and making all sorts of strange noises. They are making noises a lot like the things that came and hurt me, but the sounds are higher this time, perhaps they are little ones of the same sort? I can sense their mood is very happy but do they realise how much they just hurt me? I wonder if they get some perverse sense of pleasure from inflicting such pain on us?

Just a minute, this isn't right. Something is putting earth back around my roots. Where is the saw to cut me into little pieces? Where is the big fire to burn me to ashes? Surely they haven't done all this for a bit of fun! Why would they go to so much trouble to dig me up if they are only going to put me back in the ground again? There's not much room in here though. My roots are all bunched up and the earth tastes horrible. It's all dry and full of stones. I don't know where I am but it suddenly getting uncomfortably hot and there is no wind at all. I wonder if this is the place where the fire is? Hang on! What's all this stuff they are putting on my branches? It feels all tickly and there are lots of little hot sparkly bits all over me. No one mentioned this in the stories. It's quite nice being in the warm though with lots going on around me. All of them seem to be in a good mood except one, a different one, who keeps coming over to me and touching my branches and trunk. Perhaps that one will give me a drink, I know I haven't been here long but I could really do with a good splash of water very soon. The rest of them seem to ignore me now they have done the 'hanging things on' bit but that one keeps touching me and making noises. I wonder if it rains here? That's what I need, a good drenching downpour to really wet the needles and keep me feeling alive. It never seems to change at all here though. It never gets cold or wet or windy or anything, just dry and too hot! I wonder if this is the other way they kill us? Just keeping us from water until all our needles fall without realising that it will be the end. Surely this must be the cruelest way? Why can't they just do it and get it over with?

It's all gone quiet now, the sparkly hot things have got cold and it is dark. Not a gently fading, end of day kind of dark but a sudden, instant dark. This is scary; it's not supposed to happen like this. The different one has come back as well. I can easily sense its mood and the way it touches my trunk and strokes my branches. It actually seems to care; I can feel something very positive coming from it. It has a deep soothing sound that makes me feel, just for a moment, that everything is back to normal again.

Very gently I can feel myself being lifted up. Oh No! Not again, all the earth is falling from round my roots and I am going to fall over again. Here comes the pain! Any minute now the fierce spikes of stabbing pain will start and they will do whatever they think is 'fun' all over again. I can tense myself up against it for so long and try to block it out but I know it will come soon. But no! No pain, all I can feel is a gentle misty rain on my needles.

At last! A drink. Keep it coming like this as long as you like. Oh bliss, cool gentle life giving water slowly dripping down to the heart of me. I can still feel the different one; it seems to be taking me somewhere and having a hard job doing it. I could feel the harsh rubbing of something very hard against my roots for the first little while, I thought it might even wear some of them through like the constant wearing rub of a neighbours bough when the wind blows hard. But now the rubbing has gone, replaced with a soft and damp feeling, like being dragged through mud. I can sense the different one is having trouble as well. Its mood is still determined and friendly but it seems to be trying so hard but it cannot continue. Could this be the end? Will it be just me and the different one dying here in this sticky mess that neither one of us can cope with? It seems such a waste, all this moving around and dragging here and there for it to end here, like this. At least the different one has a kind soul and seems to understand. I will miss its spirit a great deal if we don't get out of this. I feel like I am sinking deeper into the mud along with the different one every time it struggles, if only I could help. I can't stand strong and firm in this even if I was upright. My only possible way is to try and connect with its spirit. If I can only let it feel that I want it too succeed then maybe we can both get out of this. If I tense every strand of my trunk and try with all my soul I know I can make a difference. YES! It moved, the different one is moving again, I can feel it! Very slowly but it is definitely moving. We are getting out of the sticky slime at last and onto good earth. I can taste the soil as it slowly drags me across the ground and this is a much better place, lots of goodness, wonderful damp grass all around.

Oh no! We've stopped again. But still the rain is gently making me feel better and better all the time. I can feel earth on my roots! This is wonderful! The different one has put me back in the earth, and what great earth it is, lovely and moist with loads of flavour. The rain is still gently falling and the different one seems at complete ease with everything around. Sitting here gently touching my trunk and letting our spirits combine.

It's getting light now and I can feel the different one slowly moving away. I hope it realises what a great thing it has done. Perhaps it will come and visit me again soon, you never know, I might have some saplings to show it!

Chris Hollier

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