In the Kisatchie ocean of pine and oak that shimmers evergreen in the wind, there’s a tree that all the life knows. This tree is a sun in the forest, life in the branches veining up and out to the bright blue. Its throat pillars a canopy above that glistens with beads of sunlight, gold strings that drip down to the earth where pine needles and twigs and leaves and cones come to stitch a wild tapestry of green, teeming dirt, warm browns, colors that smell like soil and clean air. All breathing within and around this tree. Animals of every nation and shrub pass by it—skitter up and about it. Nothing claims it, and it claims nothing. It is as much as all is; a testament to the only Truth: the constant of growth and life. If it only had eyes, it would be witness to a story that never ends, a story of the truest symbols under Moon and Sun, of the turmoil between rainbow and storm, of the purest music that sings from apricot dawn to fire-golden dusk.
in medias res—Tiny things in neon yellow hats and vests arrive, riding larger, mechanical mud-yellow beasts. They stomp over the late summer tapestry on their way Forward, wherever that is? The yellow beasts’ black smoke billows up above the green, suffocating the throats of trees that lived like they held up the heavens. One by one the tiny things mark then behead and uproot and dismember and skin and haul the forest congregation as cargo into trucks, and the trucks plow down the young shrubs in their Way, whatever that is? One tree, however, is too stubborn for the tiny things’ grunts; despite the will of machines, it won’t be usurped and will not fall. So, it stays, and the concrete serpent that comes next just slithers around it. A smooth and efficient scar made from the same stuff as tombstones is carved in to Kisatchie, painted the color of tar with yellow and white lines going along it. The animals know to stay away from it, although sometimes a fawn or some squirrels who know no better will stumble up to it, instantly frightened away when a metal creature with glowing eyes from faraway comes roaring towards them. Sometimes one of those metal things will growl to a stop on soft black feet, and a tiny thing without a neon hat will step out of it and walk up behind the tree that wouldn’t fall and **** on it. Relieved, it scurries back into the thing it came out of and continues on its Way, wherever that is?