Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)
TITLE: Noble Piney
By Deborah Engle
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His splendid view from the heights was now replaced with a more “down-to-earth” perspective that somehow, “just felt right”, and before long, Piney was ensconced in his cozy little spot. Day by day, the bright sunshine warmed and cheered him, and occasionally, a shower came along to refresh him.
One season led to another. The rain showers changed to snow, providing a sheltering blanket to protect him from the blustery winds. Piney felt changes taking place within himself, too. His rich brown color was fading, and his sturdy little form was slowly deteriorating. Contentment enveloped him and he settled in for a long rest, happily awaiting the next season of life.
With the passing of time, Piney awoke with a sense of excitement. His familiar shell of protection now discarded, the young sprout was sheltered by the surrounding grasses. He was thrilled to realize he now had a little root burrowing into the ground-a right of passage all little pine cones eagerly anticipate. He stood straight and tall, declaring, “I’m growing up!” And grow he did. Nurtured by the sunshine, the rain, and the rich soil, Piney developed stems, then branches, and a thick green coat of needles.
While he grew, he listened. Some of the ancients enjoyed reminiscing about things of old. Their wise words instilled a sense of honor and nobility, prompting Piney to stand straight and tall, and creating a desire that someday he would become a tree to be proud of.
Summer and winter, spring and fall, life continued. Piney wondered what the future held for him. Some of the trees that left would become lumber or furniture, but that sounded like a rough way to go. Others were destined for a life of ease and admiration, providing just the right finishing touch to a well-designed landscaping project. That might suit him, but there was one thing he knew he wanted to avoid-he didn’t want to end up as firewood! Every youngster has their dreams, and Piney’s secret wish was to become a Christmas tree. Being an intelligent little sapling, he realized only the most special trees would be selected to serve in that position, so he tried not to think about it too much. Instead, he focused on growing strong and staying healthy. He listened to the stories of the elders, gaining wisdom and knowledge. He wanted to be the best he could be, whatever his destiny held.
The years passed and Piney continued to learn and grow. Life was good, and he was happy, but he looked forward to the time his calling would be revealed. By the winter of his seventh year, Piney stood tall and full. The chill of December brought winter weather, and his branches were covered with snow, giving him a festive look.
One day, the sound of laughter caught Piney’s attention. Colorful scarves and hats, and warm coats and boots surrounded several frolicking children, who darted from one place to another. Sometimes they would call out, “Daddy, over here! What about this one?" Daddy would take a look, but say, “Well, that is nice, but it’s a little big for us,” or “No, not that one, it leans to the side.”
By the time the little group approached Piney, he was very excited. Could this be his big day? He stretched his limbs out straight and stood tall, but not “too tall”. The children grew quiet as they studied the beautiful tree, then one little child said, “I like this one. It’s pretty.” Another little child said, “It’s not too big, right Daddy?”
Daddy walked around Piney, then smiled at his children and said, “I believe you’re right. This is the Christmas tree for us.”
In his heart, Piney rejoiced, “Merry Christmas to meee!” It wasn’t long before Piney’s new journey began. As they all drove away, Piney waved to the other trees, his farewell words resounding in their ears-“Dreams do come true.”
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