The Tree-Hugger

Daily Special 23: What does the tree see?

Dr. Casey Lawrence
Promptly Written
3 min readNov 23, 2021

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Photo by Jeremiah Lawrence on Unsplash

The sun is back, warm and bright. I stretch and bask in her rays. A breeze rustles my leaves. Daytime, when the children come.

I see a young mother. She pushes her child along the path. I knew her as a child, she climbed my branches. Was it she with the ribbon? No, another like her, many moons before. I was smaller then, with the ribbon tied to a branch.

I am old now. Creaking when the children climb. A limb broke off — moons ago now. They came and cut off pieces of me, made me smaller. I lived through it, I remember. I grew again. Spring returns and renews.

What’s this? A rope around me. Three children, nearly grown. They latch themselves to me. I knew you all when you were small, not long ago. Why have you tied yourself to me?

What’s this? The adults come and put up yellow tape. They bring machines. They are yelling.

What’s this? The children are singing. They hold hands and sway together. Another joins them, climbing high into my arms. Like an embrace, he sits in a crook. A smaller one joins him. They hold signs and chant.

This is a strange day. I have not seen this day before. This day with many children on me, tied with ropes. I remember the ropes of the tire swing, the plank swing, the other tire swing, the rope with just a knot that they would use to swing. That branch broke off long ago.

They chant and sway until the sun goes down. The adults have left. They wait and whisper. The moon rises, and they untie themselves. They leave. It is over.

What’s this? One remaining in the tree, the smallest one. He has a serious face. He is high in the branches; I hold him steady. I hold firm.

What’s this? Floodlights. And the adults. And the machines. The child yells.

They are surprised by him? I have held many children. They come to me, happy and sad. They climb. They play. They pull leaves off my branches to put in their hair.

What’s this? The machine is loud. It advances.

What’s this? He will not move, the child. He holds firm to my branches, digging in his nails. I hold him tightly. I watch. It comes closer.

Oh no. Climb down, little one. If I fall, I will crush you. You are fragile. If I shake and crumble and you fall — your limbs will not grow back, little one. Climb down and be safe.

What’s this? His face determined. He spits at the machine. He howls. I brace myself for impact. I will protect you, little one. I will try.

The machine stops. It is so close. The man is yelling. The child is yelling. But it is the man who leaves.

The child does not relax. He is vigilant until morning, when the others return. And the sun is back: warm and bright. I stretch.

Thank you, Ravyne Hawke and Alyse Rowe for today’s fiction prompt: “Imagine writing from the perspective of a tree in a park. Write about an event that this tree sees unfold. / Word Length — 500-word limit / Restriction — You are writing in first-person perspective.”

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Dr. Casey Lawrence
Promptly Written

Canadian author of three LGBT YA novels. PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Check out my lists for stories by genre/type.