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The Treeplanter

Long before I stood here, ancient trees towered above, rising into the clouds. Gone now, yet their roots still permeate the earth. I've been sent into the cut-block with 60 pounds of saplings on my back, the city dweller sent in to complete the cycle of life. The effort of a society with a guilty conscience. Back sore, muscles burning, legs bleeding, I plant tree after tree. Three thousand a day. Playing God, I design the forest. I am the King of this Mountain. I am the one who chooses where these trees will grow. Yet like a rattler, I birth my children into the earth and then leave them to fend for themselves.

A thousand miles from home, a primordial impulse flutters up my spine and I feel connected. A duality exists within me. I am a creature of two worlds, torn between the natural and the material. Mind and soul are split. Empty yet full, alone yet surrounded; I am here. My body literally comes from this earth and the pain in my legs reminds me that one day I will return to it. If my trees are not cut down for money, they may live for thousands of years, but even that is but a flash in time.

Across the bare earth the young forest is reclaiming this mountain. It lacks the awe-inspiring mystery of the old growth. My mind wanders and I wonder what it would be like if all the trees were gone. But then I snap myself back to the task at hand and begin to plant harder. After all, if I plant enough trees, when I get back to the city, I will have enough money to buy a car.

Story by:

Ryan Power

2 October 2012