One day, I just fell out of the sky and into the dirt. It was a rainy day, and the drips and drops created little dimples in the ground and rivulets moved the soil down towards the river, covering me in the process. Safe under a blanket of earth, I guzzled up the moisture around me until my green, leafy torso broke free of the ground and exposed me to the greatest pleasure of my life: sunlight.
Every morning, awash in warmth, I feasted. Full of strength, I stretched myself in either direction. My roots reached deeper and spread farther and farther, grateful for every sip of moisture in the dirt. I grew tall and proud. The towering neighbors around me seemed smaller and smaller as I climbed towards the sweet intoxication of the sun. I was insatiable.
A particularly rainy day brought back memories of my beginning, the top layer of dirt was pushed around, down a hill and towards the river below. The rain kept falling, the newly unearthed top soil was pushed down a hill towards the river below. The same happened the next day. My uppermost roots, my oldest roots were becoming exposed and it made me feel cold. I longed for the sun’s rays to vanquish the rain clouds and fill me with warmth and power.
Meanwhile, the river kept rising as more and more dirt and rain flowed into it. I felt woozy and off balance as my roots were stripped of their earthen garment. The river rose above the hill to meet the run off and it kept rising and rising until I lost track of how many days it had been since the rain had started.
Everything felt wrong and I couldn’t hold myself up anymore. The very water and the earth that it moved to create my home and bring me life was stealing my world from me and all of my years of prosperity were an excruciating burden for my roots as the soil was stripped from them and replaced by the river. I held on as long as I could, but then I fell.
The water that had brought me so much nutrition battered and tossed me along, stripping my bark and wearing decades of wrinkles smooth, pushing me further and further from my life until I could no longer remember what I used to be or where I came from.
The river’s cruelty opened to an impossibly wide and infinite ocean, even more callous and brutal. My roots were lost somewhere, so they were spared the intolerable salt of the ocean as its waves slammed against me, pulled me back out, slammed against me again, pulled me back out, slammed against me again and again and again until I was discarded amongst a pile of other ruined trees. Thousands of us, torn from the ground and beaten until only the slightest whisper of our forgotten greatness remained; all piled unceremoniously atop each other in a tangle beneath a sun that we can no longer enjoy – betrayed by the very thing that gave us life.