A tree stands in a forest, alone.
To its side, a different tree falls. A regular and consistent occurrence in the forest. The forest prospers.
No breeze can be felt, but the tree’s leaves shake. They are always shaking; sometimes imperceptibly, sometimes visibly.
The tree’s vast root system stretches out around it for miles. For years it has been intertwining with the roots of other trees, although ultimately always ending up untangled, on its solitary path towards- well, towards nothing, really. The tree is unsupported.
A breeze breathes. A branch wobbles. A seed detaches itself from the branch. It begins its journey towards the earth below it. Plummeting, the seed slows down. It wills itself onwards. The tree looks on nostalgically. It would have a thing or two to say about that fall. But then again, so would that fallen tree next to it.
The seed hits the ground. Inevitably. The wind begins to blow. Inevitably.
The leaves continue to shake, and the branches begin to do so too.
The tree aches. Its branches are weak and weary.
A bird flies in from the distance, unseen by the forest. It lands in the branches of the tree. Mercifully, the bird steadies the movement of the branch – for a moment, at least. The tree is grateful – for a moment, at least.
The bird eyes a seed on the ground. It swoops down and collects it in its beak. The tree groans. Its branches begin to shake again. The bird sings. The tree is vengeful – for a moment, at least.
The bird flees the forest. The seed escapes its grip. It begins to fall. Again.
The sun begins to set. The shade begins to cover the tree. The tree is cold. It wills unsuccessfully – always unsuccessfully – for warmth.
Night falls. The tree grows.
Day comes. The tree wakes, thankful for the rest of the night.
Another tree falls. Another seed falls. Another bird returns.
The sun sets again. The tree wishes for warmth again.
Night falls again. The tree strengthens. It stands.
Day begins. Night begins. Day again. Night again.
The tree looks on. It wishes for the breeze and the bird and the warmth of the sun and the peace of the night.
The tree falls.
The tree hits the ground.
The forest grows.