Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
By Linda Germain
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Is she kidding? I may be 122 years old but I can still run circles around all my progeny. I am Trey-G, a short term for triple great grandmother. It has morphed into plain old TG. That’s fine with me.
GGD 42 (great granddaughter somewhere down the line) still has a modicum of interesting brain cells left. The rest seem like robots.
In a matter of minutes we traverse 500 miles and are deposited at a Pod-Station where my brother’s personal craft is waiting.
We proceed with swiftness, right on track and through automatic double doors. He is waiting as we alight directly into his main space; the old term was living room.
“Greetings sister!” he bellows with feigned delight. “Now the celebration can begin.”
I give him a salute. No one hugs anymore. The moderns have declared it déclassé.
As usual, I am drawn to the children’s center, a place where the youth are relegated for instruction and exercise. There does not seem to be a word for “play” anymore. They crowd around me as if I am an OOGI (object of great interest).
It is hard for them to believe stories I tell them; things no longer in the educational curriculum. I am taking a chance by sharing what I know from experience, but the risk is worth it. If just one can grasp truth, a word of great mystery to them, then there might be a chance to impart the only wisdom that matters.
I sit comfortably in a central spot and they gather around.
“What story would you like today, my dear little greats?”
One of the articulate ones addresses me. “We want to hear more about those things you had when you were a child.”
“You mean cars, rights, freedoms, dresses, pizza?”
The most serious, and by far the kindest of the bunch, Mada2, comes close to my ear to make his quiet request. “ If you please TG…the tale about those tall brown things; you said they were alive and were put here at the inauguration of the human race.”
I had not used that exact term, but he was exhibiting a budding curiosity that answered my silent prayers.
“You mean TREES?”
“Oh yes.” His eyes sparkle with excitement and unasked questions.
“When I was born, back in 2005, there were wonderful living wood objects with roots that went deep into the soil and branches that reached for the sky. They were necessary for the production of oxygen, a thing unheard of now. “
As I talk, the group grows closer to me. Mada2 reaches for my hand, a response nearly obsolete in this century.
“Trees were chopped down to build homes and furniture. A brand new person slept in a cradle of wood and when he died…uh, I mean reached his season of expiration or was terminated for the good of all, he was put in a pine wood box and buried in the ground.”
“You mean planted, like the trees? Did he grow back again?”
Poor, pitiful little offspring of mine. My old brain can barely grasp the implications.
“First, let me present factoids and treasures from my memory bank, and then we will discuss what eventually happens to humans.”
They seem satisfied to wait.
“ Mankind would not have survived without trees. Everything came from their production: homes, boats and rafts, paddles, furniture, weapons, tools, fences, floors; even delicious fruit for eating.”
I would have to explain what fruit was at another time.
“On hot days trees provided shade, and a place to put a swing.”
Oops. They would not understand why a child would care to sit on a plank attached to a rope and dangle in the air.
We talk about woodpiles and woodsheds, bond fires and campfires, fireplaces and cooking stove. Terms like “walk the plank” or “trod the boards” or “sturdy as an Oak” are examined and tossed aside.
Mada2 looks puzzled, yet intrigued. “GT, how did trees get here?”
I know I am monitored, but it has to be said.
“God made them.”
“Who is God?” they ask in unison.
Just before I am escorted to a Traitor-Purge center, I plant a seed in Mada2’s fertile mind. I slip a small key to him.
I whisper, “Safe. Book. Learn. Teach.”
At my final disposition, I ask, “Tree,Son?”
He smiles. He nods. He responds.
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