Inspired by my Grandmother

In the center of the wood, where the forest is dark and deep, there is a sacred tree. Or rather, a sacred pair. Two leaf-ridden giants, the might oak and the fair beech, grown together. A twisting arch leads to tangled limbs forever knotted in the wide canopy. A perfect circle of grass and moss surrounds those entwined, and a cool and clear spring lies betwixt the roots. They say that two lovers were running for their lives through the wood. From what or who, the tale is too ancient to know for sure. They ran until began to give out, finding that the deeper into the wood they went, the slower their hearts beat and the more it seemed like time began to stop altogether. It was here, in the middle of this clearing, that the lovers could run no more. They collapsed on either side of that cool and clear spring, gulping the water down in the hopes that it would return their vitality. It is said that the lovers felt the shaking earth before they saw the stampeding elk that would be their fate, but they still had so little time to reach one another that they died with their hands outstretched across the pool of water splashing between them. This final act, this desperate need for one another’s touch in the final hour, it is said, is why the beech and the oak grew together. The lovers’ bodies fed that lush earth and the roots of the two trees you see now. If you look closely, you can just see the shape of two hands clasped in the canopy, an embrace that gives solace to all those pairs who stumble upon this hidden glade.

[Written December 6th, 2016]

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