“Just two more millimeters!” I say. I tug and pull and push. It might as well be 2 miles. We were still growing and it would take a while until our roots finally found each other. We met when we were seedlings and immediately knew we were friends for life. So there we stood, side by side, high on a hill that watched over the surrounding fields and meadows.
I look at her and sigh. One day, when we were more mature, we would have that moment. The seasons came and went, generations of birds nested in our crowns and lovers carved hearts in our bark. We knew joy, even sadness but most of all we knew hope. So we waited. Oaks can live up to be 1000 and we were still young and wild.
One late morning as we were watching butterflies racinghoneybees from summer blossom to summer blossom, we felt a surge. I looked at her and she looked at me and we trembled. It was happening! Our roots finally touched for the first time. It was like lightning! Like fire! We closed our eyes and let our roots entwine. Now we could hold on to each other forever. A promise of love for all time. The strongest of winds didn’t have a chance. This is what life as an oak is all about! Yeeaah!
We we’re ecstatic! We had always sworn we would wait for each other no matter what and this sealed the deal!
Another 250 years passed and we were content with life. What else did we need? We made each other happy. The few humans that passed by admired us and some even painted portraits of us. Yes, life was sweet.
When I heard the group of voices drawing nearer, the day was still dark. They sounded excited and were pointing at us. I had never seen them before. We were both awake now and sensed something was wrong. One of the men ran up to us, slapping our trunks and flailing his arms around like a madman. His companions walked up the hill and set something down on the ground. By now, we were alarmed. “This oak is ours! For tables and chairs!” I watched them set the sharp teeth of a crosscut saw on her trunk. “Take me, take me” I cried out but alas, humans don’t speak the language of trees.
It’s too terrible for me to talk about. How they brutally attacked her. I… I can’t… I won’t go into detail. Her roots held on to mine ever so tightly and I held her with all my might. I gaveher my word that I would follow her one day. “Wait for me on the other side” I cried and my limbs heaved with sorrow. The morning sun disappeared behind a dark menacing cloud that day and the world – my world stood still.
That was 75 years ago. Yet it feels like yesterday. The seasons change but our roots remain entwined, as if she were really here. And I still hope. That’s one thing we oaks have. Hope. “I would wait for you” I hear her say.
Did I tell you that I can see a faint light when I look up to the other side?