The sun climbed higher in the sky as brown haired Evelyn quietly stepped into a spacious clearing, her
warm eyes searching for the tranquility afforded by the deep woods. The early morning rays had
scarcely been sufficient to lead her on this excursion to an unknown segment of the otherwise familiar
Having arrived at this mysterious destination, she sat down to rest underneath a foreign tree. There was
no wind to caress its dry and craggy limbs, no rain to soak its tired base. Its branches hung like dark
specters in the haunting light of dawn, yet it seemed like comfort and shelter to the girl beneath.
The tree was large and old, reminding those who might pass by of the ancient horrors of human kind.
The tree’s soul whispered stories of starvation, powerlessness, and injustice. Myths and plausible denial
played in the midst of its aged bark and fell to the ground like poisoned leaves. Sunlight could not
cast a glimmer on its worn and barren exterior, where the eagle’s eye would see fields of desperation.
But the desperate were not quiet. They sprang forth with farm implements in their hands, and the fire of
ages gone by filled their voices. Their song was a sword. Their fists formed the very heart of
The tree occasionally creaked or groaned a little, calling sprites to the minds of the enlightened and
summoning bitter bile to the throats of waking warriors. Its roots spread throughout the land, touching
many living things and sending visions of remembrance and conflict deep into the world. It was not
alone however, nor was it altogether wrapped in darkness. Hope shone through its branches and tickled
its roots where the old sun and the dangerous rain could not, casting a spell into the land, a magic of redemption and hope for all life.
The resting girl stirred below and reveled in the emergence of a new day.
Evelyn thought of the comforting earth beneath her feet. It was too cool outside for taking off her shoes
and digging her toes into the beckoning soil. She wished to though, as the charms of nature enveloped
her. Sliding her hands along the woodland floor, she embraced good memories and smiled.
The tree called to her, offering its wisdom. As she began to climb, Evelyn thought about the ages gone
by that this sturdy giant must have witnessed. Evelyn felt the need to understand what realities the past
held. Human beings needed to comprehend more than their own time and circumstances. She wanted to
experience things beyond the conventions of her own life.
Evelyn sat for a while among the trees branches and heard it whisper the stories of others. There were stories of Earth's energy and the transformation it worked in those who experienced it, sisters, fairies, one and all...
In time, she easily reversed her climbing action and completed the brief descent to the ground. When
she was safely standing upon the Earth again, Evelyn erupted into a fit of youthful madness. Running
throughout the trees, she created a game with no name and no rules. The energy of her youthful body
and the momentary elation of her mind drove her to play until she could no longer stand up from
Shortly thereafter, Evelyn ate a lunch that she had packed for her day in the woods. She slowly chewed
on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Even with the jelly, the sandwich seemed quite dry, and she had
nothing but lukewarm water to drink.
When one o’clock arrived Evelyn decided to head for home. Her day had been all that she hoped
it would be, but familiar creature comforts were beginning to sound good to her.
Nearby, an abandoned dog listened to the passing away of the girl from the clearing. He had been
observing this strange visitor from a distance for the last hour or so. He dragged his scraggly hide to the
area where all the play had occurred, searching the ground for rare prizes. He foraged successfully,
finding bits of sandwich that had been left behind.
The dog was altogether without a master and roamed the woods, struggling to survive. He had become
wild, despite being born in captivity. The scent of humans was almost unknown to him, as few of them
ever ventured this deeply into his adopted territory.
He was quite glad that this girl had come to his domain. Her crumbs would sustain him for the day, and
her presence had somehow soothed his soreness.
When he had eaten his fill, the dog skipped along triumphantly, forgetting the afternoon’s experiences
like a shadowy dream. The tree, although not sentient, could not forget this day or any other. The breath
that sweetened its air, the sweat that dripped upon its branches, and the food that enriched its soil would
always remain a part of the aged roots and the reaching branches.
Will's poetry, short stories, and guest blog articles have appeared in Half Tones to Jubilee, Riverwind, REAL: The Journal of Liberal Arts, Limestone, Cyclamens and Swords Magazine, Scrittura Magazine, California Quarterly, Off the Coast, On the Veranda, Orange Coast Review, Salmon Creek Journal, Ripples in Space, Theme Park Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Thrive Global, Submittable's Guest Blog, and the Institute of Internal Communication's Guest Blog.