By: James Kyle
Once upon a time in a country far far away, there was once a new born baby tree. The infant tree cherished the newness and richness of life. A life full of first time experiences. He delighted in the refreshing sensation of sap rising through his veins, the rustling tingle of a breeze in his branches, and, most of all, the crackling of his leaves as they reached up to catch the nurturing sun. Every morning he thanked the sun for his nurturing love. The tree, caressed by the sunbeams, lived each moment of the day in a spirit of joy. At night, when he went to sleep, he knew his dependable friend would show up the next morning ready to share his infinite gift of light once more. Many days and nights passed. The tree continued to be very very happy.
One morning, however, the tree woke up in the middle of a dream. He had been dreaming that his friend, the sun, had abandoned him. The tree, shivering at the thought, looked up to greet his friend in the sky. His friend had risen before him as always. But today, he seemed more distant, less available somehow.
More days and nights passed. With each passing day the tree began to fear more and more that the warming comforting rays of the sun could no longer be relied upon. The tree began to feel colder and colder. The tree realized that his terrible dream was coming true. The sun had decided to abandon him.
As the cold season took its grip, he resigned himself to the fact that the once nurturing sun had turned his back on him. His feelings of abandonment turned to despair as his leaves, his beautiful leaves, lost their vibrant color, and, one by one, began to fall off. Time passed. All his leaves were gone. Winter had arrived.
The tree passed the winter mourning his loss.
Eventually the cold season came to an end, and, at last, the sun once more dominated the sky. However it was now a different sun. A sun that could not be trusted. Even when the sun began to shine brightly, the tree knew that betrayal was to be expected. It came as no surprise when, several months later, the sun turned his back on him once more. The tree began to feel very very sorry for himself.
The seasons passed. The tree grew taller. For the first time he noticed, in the valley below, a forest of trees. He looked around the small hill he stood on and suddenly realized how isolated he was. The trees in the valley seemed so alive, their branches swaying in harmony in the breeze. On the ground, squirrels and chipmunks were playing games of endless tag. In the air, birds were singing, and flying back and forward, building nests in their favorite trees. The tree looked at the rocks who were his only companions and sighed. The rocks, who rarely spoke, made no comment. The tree felt very lonely and depressed. He fell ill.
Time passed. The tree felt more and more abandoned. Birds and animals who might have been attracted to the growing tree avoided him all together because he was no fun to be with. All around the tree was a depressing silence.
Never ending silence had replaced never ending joy. How could this have happened? How can I be happy once more? What can I do to end this isolation? The tree lost in his own self pity paid no attention to the world around him. So it was with a start that he realized that someone was standing in front of him. He had not noticed anyone approaching. The wizard, for that’s who he was, began to talk gently to the tree. But the tree, used to his isolation, cowered inside himself not listening at all. The wizard, with compassion and understanding, completed what he had to say, smiled, and moved on.
More seasons came and went. The wizard visited once more. This time the tree was so desperately lonely that he was determined to listen to the wise man. He did so, but could not understand the meaning of his words. The wizard finished with a smile, and some final words of encouragement, and went on his way. The tree was confused and forlorn. He pleaded to the rocks, “Rocks, rocks, what am I to do?” The rocks said nothing at first but then in a quiet deep voice one spoke out, “The wizard is offering you his love. Do not concern yourself with the words, just accept the love and let it grow inside you.” And then there was silence again on the hillside.
But something had changed.
When the wizard came again the tree remembered the rock’s advice and, looking at the wizard, was surprised to see how easy it was to see the love. One only had to look. The wizard stopped talking, but the conversation continued. The tree grew strong inside. Night came and the tree fell asleep.
The next morning the wizard had left. But then again, he hadn’t really gone. The tree realized that a part of the wizard was still alive, inside him. And so it came to pass that the tree stopped looking for others to nurture him.
As each day passed the tree became healthier and healthier. Small buds started forming on his branches which became beautiful fruit that was the tree’s gift to his new friends. Because of course, as the tree once more connected with the joy of life, different animals came to the hill to play, and many birds came to build nests in his branches.
The tree sat on his hill contentedly. He watched the squirrels play games in his shade. He listened to the birds sing beautiful songs. He felt joy as he shared his fruit with his new companions. As he sat in the sun nurturing his new found friends, he looked down at the trees in the valley below and, suddenly, he understood. He realized that, of course, he was part of the forest. But he had been given an extra gift, an extra blessing: he had been given a bit more space to expand and grow.
And it should come as no surprise to you that the wizard, on another journey far far away, chose that moment to stop and smile, before continuing on his way.