Giving Back in ‘The Overstory’

Julie Borden
The Shortform
Published in
Apr 29, 2024
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Douglas has known very little human kindness. Orphaned at seventeen, he enlists in the Air Force two years later and is sent to Vietnam. After he is shot down, his crewmates owe their lives to his bravery, and he in turn owes his life to the banyan tree that caught him.

Years later, he is driving through Oregon and sees through strategically placed strips of fir trees along the highway. What are they cleverly disguising? That vast expanses of the forest have been clear cut. He is outraged by the devastation and finds his life purpose: planting seedlings to try to begin to replace what was lost.

“A great truth comes over him: Trees fall with spectacular crashes. But planting is silent and growth is invisible.”

“…each weedy stem he puts into the dirt is a magic trick eons in the making.”

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Julie Borden
The Shortform

Social worker, therapist, reader, writer, head-in-the-clouds dreamer, awed by most everything. (She/her) Reach me at JulieBordenLCSW@gmail.com.