Have you ever seen the sunlight filter through the leaves?
As a young boy his mother would tell him how the light which danced between the gaps were really fairies who had come to show off their dazzling beauty. He thought of those fairies often nowadays and Will knew it, she could sense that longing flow outward from her father. Perhaps it was pity or sympathy which had allowed for the idea to take root in her mind, the idea of such a trip which so few had the time or energy to make though everyone spoke about it. They spoke about the trees as though they were dinosaurs now. Spoke about oaks which had once stroked the sky with their green fingertips, oaks which had once been so large it would take over a dozen people holding hands to encircle it. Such trees had become part of myth and legend. Schoolchildren could be found at the museums gazing up at old fashioned photographs of their great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers standing beneath entire canopies of trees! Teachers would explain how the trees had once been the skyscrapers of the world, they had stood just as proudly with twisting arms and dark skin. Teachers would speak of the numerous species of trees, all of which were unique standing this way or that. They would speak of the proud pine and its sharp needles, how it represented a time of Christmas and how people would decorate the pine with tinsel and silver. They speak about the willow and its relaxed mood, swinging side to side in rhythm to the reggae beat that seemed to drift through the air whenever one was in the presence of the willow tree. The blue gum who would shed its skin and when damp appeared as though it were a Van Gogh painting with such a diversity of color.
The history lessons of fast growing populations and an unquenchable thirst for natural resources. Her father had told her most of those. He had told her how the world swallowed itself whole. The bonsai tree is often prayed to, preached to and its symbol restores faith throughout the world. Thousands of bonsai trees can be seen to line the windows of every building they pass by, each gnarled and stunted in height they standing slightly crouched over yet with an attention to detail that is captivating. Its petite leaves dangle from slender branches, moss keeps its feet warm in the winter and in spring miniature blossoms can be seen blooming. There are one hundred bonsai’s for each singular person. The bonsai’s are their breath, absorbing the smallest particles of carbon dioxide and releasing minute oxygen in return. Her father could often be found glaring or frowning at the bonsai’s, speaking of how they were poor imitations of the real thing. A child that never had the chance to grow up, he would mutter. Each person was taught from young how to curate and nurture the tiny trees, to ensure their survival was to ensure humanity’s survival. Will had loved her bonsai’s and to this day felt the thrill of watching one grow its first leaves, her favorite being the maple whose leaves portrayed spectacular flecks of gold in the autumn. Will feared this trip would change her view of the bonsai’s.
The car smelled stale, litter could be found beside feet and under chairs. Cups and takeaway Styrofoam boxes with remnants of food probably three days old. What had possessed her to take such a drive? Will could no longer answer that question and the need for a bed had become unbearably loud. Her father slept in a fetal position in the passenger seat and his body was so frail at this point he could be mistaken for a child. At over a hundred years of age his childhood was long behind him and there was only one thing left in this world for him to do. Death was an old friend who visited in his dreams and made sweet promises. Before he accepted her hand, there was one last thing on this great earth he wanted to see. Will had lamented. As they drove the final distance a silhouette appeared on the horizon. At first she believed them to be buildings of a strange architecture. As the drive drew on, the last forest came into view. From a distance they looked like a line of bonsai’s growing somehow naturally but as the car drew nearer the trees grew larger. Their presence in the world spoke of times long forgotten and their leaves were maps of a world that once was. Charlie seemed to get out of the car before the wheels had stopped moving, he was six years old again playing with his brothers outside.The trees had been grand mansions once, entire worlds for them to climb. His legs did not ache as they moved toward the lush forest which seemed just out of reach. Stretching out his fingertips the distance between him and the trees finally closed. Charlie felt the gross beauty and imperfection of its rough bark. An energy ran through the tree making his fingertips hum with its vibration.
“I am home.”
By J.C. Delport
© This work is subject to copyright (14.02.2019)
All rights are that arise from this work are reserved for, and are the property of the author JC Delport