The sunset was not spectacular that day. The vivid ruby and tangerine streaks that so often caressed the blue brow of the sky were sleeping, hidden behind the heavy mists. There are some days when the sunlight seems to dance, to weave and frolic with tongues of fire between the blades of grass. Not on that day. That evening, the yellow light was sickly. It diffused softly through the gray curtains with a shrouded light that just failed to illuminate. High up in the treetops, the leaves swayed, but on the ground, the grass was silent, limp and unmoving. The sun set and the earth waited.
On the edge of a small wood, an ancient tree sat hunched over, the gnarled, old king of a once vast domain that had long ago been turned to pasture. The great, gray knees gripped the hard earth with a solidity of purpose that made it difficult to determine just where the tree began and the soil ended, so strong was the union of the ancient bark and grainy sustenance. Many years had those roots known—years when the dry sands had shriveled the outer branches under a parched sun, years when the waters had risen up, drowning those same sands in the tears of unceasing time.
Many sands had the tree known; many green neighbors had come and gone, yet the tree remained. The mighty roots had endured such whips and scorns as had been cast upon it, but the old tree had survived, a pillar of twisted iron and horn against the now sickly sky. In the waning light of evening, the tree waited.
In the deep crevices between the tufts of grass, the shadows stalked slowly upward, submerging the sandy earth in an inky sea. The sun sank until only its last, thin razor of light glimmered over the fields. Time stretched its ancient joint...
... middle of paper ...
...e roots of the old tree, the star’s light was intercepted by green shoots and small, crinkled leaves— last season’s seeds. Tiny children of the mother tree, they were doomed to live out their lives under her suffocating blanket of branches. Now as they gazed upward, innumerable points of light gazed back. A light wind rustled the miniature stalks of the saplings, blowing the new debris around in short-lived eddies that danced softly through the night.
Then, slowly at first, but with ever increasing intensity, a small glimmer appeared on the glossy leaves. Through the whispering blades of grass, a brilliant fire arose from the depths turning the lingering water droplets into liquid silver that dripped from expectant leaves and flowed gurgling into shallow puddles, bathing the young trees with the succulent taste of a new day.
And the golden morning sun rose.
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