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J and K planted a Tree

J and K planted a tree on the summit of the highest hill in their land near a brook with gurgling clear water, a great oak with leaves fullgreen and tender. It grew wildly and quickly, as rapid as oak trees grow, at least. It drew strength from underearth soil and shifted its roots into the dark organic dead around it, while the little creatures and minuscule entities made home bark and branch. Their oak soaked up the moisture from the air and drank liquid from leafy dew, sating its thirst from the rain that seeped into the ground. Its branches reached out into the out-there away from end of tree and though their oak did not see, it felt and made good the charites of a grown giving. It grew old as trees do and remained standing long and wide and into the years it reached out its outreach, rushed in heat of sun and pleasant breeze. And K and J and J and K loved and cared for the oak, together making it sturdy and vibrant. Years passed and they made home the shade under the branches and lived well without care – well, nearly without care at least.

A time came when J decided that the tree needed pruning, so she first cut the tops of the tree where the dead branches were falling. The oak thanked her with a pleasant appearance and a slight sway in the wind, some pieces of dead branching falling. Still, J was unsatisfied, so she trimmed the green leaves and more branches, including the ones near the earth where she and K lived. The oak was unsure such things were needed, but returned nonetheless its content presence with a meager bow. A few days passed and J wanted to trim the oak more, so she cut the thicker branches on the top of the tree. It wanted to thank her again, but the old oak seemed mildly out of its own proportion and distorted. It wanted to warn J, but it had no mouth and it trusted her. Even so, J trimmed more the thick branches near the top of the tree until all of the high, round and thick arms of the oak were gone. The oak was now scared and wished to run, but there was no possibility of flight.

“Please stop,” it tried to say “your deeds will kill us.”

When J climbed down this time, she looked again and the oak appeared yet worse than it did when she attempted to right its proportions. It looked at her sad and in terrible plight, but could do no more. J began then to trim the smaller branches near the earth so that the tree would look sparse all around as it now did near its height. The oak shuttered and began to weep. Yet, when again J observed from a distance their oak seemed ever more terrible and began to run a fever, so she cut off the thicker branches and by this time all the leaves had been removed. The oak now was unable to nod or sway in the breeze as it had done. It could not have thanked her, and it would not have thanked had it been able. Their oak shivered with fright and it looked no better as J examined it. So, she then cut off all of the thick branches of the old, living wood until no more branches remained, and now their tree was no longer able to weep. Feeling weak and lonely, it stood before her a limbless hefty stick, still oak but gloomy and ill – little life remained. J then cut the top of the tree and waited a day before she observed it. It did not move, nor think, did not respond nor even weep. When J awoke a day later she ran to the place where she had examined the tree and the oak looked sorrier still than ever before, drained of water and unable to soak up the dew. She cut again the final limb of her home until only a stump remained. She knew not what to think, but then K returned and saw what had become of their beloved shade-giver, its leaves branches bark and twig strewn about the ground.

“What have you done? Where is our old oak?” K said in a frightened and deeply troubled voice.

“It is the same oak. Only your perception of it has changed,” J returned.

© 2014 by Kirk A. Shellko a.k.a. Lucian Whyte