written for the ds106 Daily Create: Write a 400 word story describing an event from two different characters’ perspectives.
Gaultheria shallon #2 (Photo credit: J.G. in S.F.)I died that day. There would no more reaching for the sun. Every day since I was shorter than the salal that covered the forest floor, I had been told it was impossible, and I guess they were right. My neighbors died before me. I heard the crunch of the saw through their bones. I wanted to run, but I was rooted in place. Running wouldn’t have helped anyway. There were so many of them.
The machines were so loud. Screaming wouldn’t have helped. The birds who had come to trust me enough that they would land on me and sing had not visited that day. They say animals know things. Maybe they just heard the rumbling. Or maybe, flying above, they saw death coming.
My body has been dragged away. A few limbs remain, rotting, returning to the floor of the forest that protected me for so many years. Except I’m not sure if the forest is still there.
I used to stretch towards the sun every day, and every year I grew another layer. You might say at least I’ll never get any fatter, but that’s not the way my kind thinks.
I wish I could’ve tasted salal.
We was a week behind. Nothing else was special about the twenty-second of June. Same as the twenty-first, same as the twenty-third. Why? Tree sitters and road blockers. Look. I’m not unsymp . . . I get it. They’re not wrong. Trees are pretty. And important. They mean well but goddamn, I gotta eat, and my kids gotta eat. When the project’s late, my job’s in danger, and my crew’s jobs are in danger. And they know it’s dangerous sitting up in those trees.
And I don’t even get to see my kids. Not that I blame their mom for leaving me, but did she have to leave town?
Yeah, I guess she did. Not a lot of jobs for her there. And how could I ask for her to wait when I was always away working?
So that day we was working extra fast. It was real easy to miss something or someone in the trees. And the noise the saws and everything else make . . . We didn’t hear any screams. I didn’t notice anything until the logs were on the trucks. There was an arm. I swear, even dead, the woman it belonged to was reaching for the sun.
- Root Fungus Stores a Surprising Amount of the Carbon Sequestered in Soil (scientificamerican.com)
- 21st Century Butterfly, 19th Century Net: Fourteen Years in Haiku (themillions.com)
- The Value of Ancient Forests (meloukhia.net)
- Salal ~ Gaultheria shallon (joyfulrestoration.com)