Once more I find myself too surrounded and overwhelmed by assignments to write anything new. Luckily, I was digging through old files again and found this essay I wrote in high school for Green Week. Enjoy!
It is such a beautiful day. The bright crimson sun is shining its light down on the cascading forest below, glazing hills and valley with tinges of white and basking the population of lush greenery with a comforting, warm glow. Today is one of those better days; it is not often that such beauty is preserved for my being to witness. Beneath the shade I cast on the ground, flowers are beginning to open, as excited as I am to start the day. I have a lot to do today; I must absorb as much sunlight as I can before the clouds begin to circle, and I must work on bearing fruit.
Oh, how silly of me! I have forgotten to introduce myself to you. I am a tree. Yes, that’s right, a tree! I have leaves and shoots and a rough bark and tough roots, and I’m brightly coloured with scarlet fruit. As you can tell, I am quite proud of my appearance. My friends always chide and reprimand me for being so vain, but I am a creation of God. How can I not find myself wonderful?
I am not all just looks, you know. I am useful, too, and I have brains to go with my brawn. I am home to a family of little sparrows, and my trunk houses a pair of squirrels. The birds and squirrels always argue, but I think they secretly enjoy being neighbours. I must not forget to tell you that Mr and Mrs Sparrow’s eggs hatched yesterday. I am so excited to house them on my branches.
Hang on a moment. I can hear someone coming, a human. It is not unusual for people to take relaxing walked in the forest, and I am always especially ecstatic when they stop to rest beneath me, using my trunk as a backrest. There is a group of children that comes here on the weekends and they always play hide-and-seek, often scurrying to find sanctuary behind me or clambering up my branches to hide. I hope it’s them, as they are always so fun to watch.
However, I soon find that this is not the case. It is, in fact, around ten adult males. They are dressed oddly in faded blue jeans, long-sleeved shirts, strange orange vests and bright yellow hats that look hard and sturdy, and each one is carrying a can of some sort. I have never had problems with humans before, but for some reason, I feel a little wary, as if I sense something bad is going to happen.
The men shake the cans in their grips then begin to spray symbols onto my brothers and sisters. It takes me a moment to see what they are writing, but when I do, I notice that my siblings all have bright red “X”s plastered onto their barks. I am afraid that they will spray me, too, but they do not. Instead, after half an hour, they walk away and disappear through the pathway. Neither my family nor my friends know what the “X” means, but we can only hope it is not anything bad.
The morning slowly fades away, passing into noon. I am about to doze off when I hear a loud rumbling emitting from the pathway. The ground shakes beneath me as I turn my attention towards it. Before long, I see an entire row of trucks moving up the driveway, followed by a few vehicles that I think are called bulldozers. They have huge wheels and a big shovel-like mechanisms attached to their front. I wonder what they are doing here, and then I recognise the men driving them as the same ones from this morning. The trucks are noisy, and I sense the sparrows and squirrels become frightened. I wish the humans would turn their machines off.
Suddenly, the bulldozer moves forward speedily, and its shovel slams into the lower trunk of one of my brothers. I watch in horror as my brother attempts to remain rooted, but the automation is too strong and he falls over, crashing thunderously to the ground. Meanwhile, some more people have arrived, carrying long, sharp weapons with rotating blades. My sister tells me that it is a chainsaw, but I barely hear her as a man strikes his weapon into my best friend’s bark, breaking him open, and he falls to the forest floor in a crumpled heap, his leaves tangling together messily, branches splintering and falling apart dramatically.
I feel myself tremble in fear. I want to scream, but how can I? I have no voice, and the humans regard me lowly. I can do nothing but look on and grieve as all my relatives are cut cleanly across their centre, each one tumbling in slow motion to the forest floor, and are carried to rest in the trucks. Animals scurry across the floor in frantic panic, but few manage to escape as they are crushed beneath fallen trunks and perish. Even if they escape, where are they to go? This forest had been their home for years.
The destruction rages on until the sun begins to set, and dark, ominous clouds begin to gather in the sky. I hear one of the men shout something, but I am too numbed by pain and sadness to pay attention. Then one of the men starts to spray red paint onto the remaining trees. This time, he does not leave me out. The paint feels cold on my trunk, alien and unwelcome. The men gather their belongings and leave, just as the first splashes of rain begin to drizzle onto me. The paint does not wash off, even as the thunder cracks across the sky and droplets hit the ground at increasing speed.
I guess this is my fate, then. I have often heard stories of killed trees and what becomes of them. I am told that they are made into paper and furniture, which are both useful objects for humans. I suppose that would be alright, as long as I am still useful, but I would really rather not work for heartless, cruel humans who can murder and kill, taking away lives without a single thought, leaving destruction in their wake.
I hope one day, I get made into paper; for a school magazine, perhaps. Then maybe, just maybe, I will be able to tell someone my story, and that someone will care about it, but I doubt it. I have seen many humans today, but I have seen no humanity. Hopefully, there is still some love left in the world, but I cannot know for sure. I guess I will just have to wait and see.