He wished he could call himself strong,
strong and steadfast
as his sisters and brothers had been before him,
a steady beacon in the fading days of joy.
But as the wind battered his leaves,
his soul shook and his branches withered in the wind
he felt his brightness was nothing
but a façade to trick the birds in the sky
a false hope that would dry out
not to withstand the storms to come,
the burning heat of day and the earth-shaking cold at night.
He wished he could call himself beautiful,
but knew he was nothing compared to those,
who had been before him:
a seedling compared to an old oak,
a cracking tree stub compared to a yew tree bending in the wind.
And as the sun burned his skin
he wished he would grow in the shades of ancient woods,
small and insignificant in the eyes of his ancestors
but alive, living, breathing, loving…
Not a withering shade of what once had been,
but a promise of what might come.
The loneliness tore at his heart,
as the last bird flew a circle above his head,
as the mouse who had made a home between his roots
drew a last breath, her heartbeat fading with the light.
Storms howled their long lament through the cliffs
while grains of sand danced full of joy in newly found freedom.
And still he stood,
a lone survivor atop of nothingness,
while the setting sun repainted cliff and sky:
crimson red, pale yellow, blue.
And as the light began to fade,
he made a vow to the passing wind:
never to forget.
Never to forget.