Dance With me
Have you ever heard the giants breathe?
I think I have. I heard them breathe in the large rivers that meander down the peaks towards the valleys. I heard them breathe on the mountainsides, the trees pillars of thoughtful silence. I heard them breathe in the lakes, where the hush is so deep you can listen to your own heart beating. This is where the story begins, on a winter day. A day like many others, in which I decided to go and listen to the slumbering world of the mountains I call home.
That was the day I met them, the guardian of the forest, dressed in brown feathers. They were a barred owl; I remember them clearly. They swooped down from the sky, landing on one of the tall branches of a tree a few feet away from where I was walking. Their black onyx eyes looked down at me, searching. I was startled, at first, by the purpose that lay behind those eyes. Somehow, I knew the barred owl wasn’t there by chance. They had been waiting for my arrival.
It sounds odd to say that a barred owl might be waiting for a random human to walk by. Yet, there they were and there was I, both of us staring at one another. We didn’t move for a long time, and I got lost in those black thoughtful eyes. It was like a spell. I couldn’t look away, I couldn’t move. The forest receded all around me, as all my attention turned to the plumed forest guardian.
When We Became Trees
We hadn’t planned to stop running or abandon our addiction to overconsumption and the overexploitation of our planet’s resources. We thought we had just found a more efficient way to be human. We didn’t have any more space for agriculture, or the time to eat and keep on feeding an ever-growing population. Our industries needed more space to expand, and we needed a more-efficient-kind of human. A human being that wouldn’t have to depend on meals and other species to survive. A human being that could keep on working as long as the sun was up, harvesting nutrients directly from the soil.
It was a ludicrous idea, and yet we had seen the perfect example in the efficiency of trees. Trees basked under the sun, and their roots took nourishment from the land, all the while producing the oxygen that kept them and everyone else alive. So, we thought that, like the trees, we could work at all hours, never pausing. Our economy would flourish, as we pushed every other living being to the brink of extinction. If we were trees, producing the oxygen we needed to live, we wouldn’t need trees to occupy the mountainsides we wanted to mine. If the sun and the soil gave us nourishment, we wouldn’t need to preserve the ecosystems for all the other living beings. We just needed some clean water to keep us afloat, and science had no limits, or so we thought.
So, this is how we came to be, the human trees, a new species of human beings. We looked more or less the same, with just some green hair and slightly greener skin, a few leaves and branches protruding from our limbs. Our feet could grow roots, whenever we wanted to eat, but we could still walk, and do everything humans always did. For a while, we just continued the same, our attention focused on our computers, answering our mountains of emails. But slowly, things started to change, for our perception of the world had changed.