The wooden skeleton stood slouched in the center of the museum’s glass enclosure. Six—maybe seven—leaves hung in total—I remember how I used to draw an abundance of them, marking them onto paper only to discard them with dissatisfaction. I wish I hadn’t: it was a waste of paper and a withered memory.

Barren soil bit at its roots, barking at the children who press their faces onto the glass hoping to memorize the lines of age that scratched the skeleton’s trunk. A child traces its outline with a hesitant finger. I never thought that a tree’s tears would look dry.

When I turned 17, nature turned resentful—in truth, I used to think it was my fault. I thought that the downpours, droughts, famine—all of it was because of me. In similar veracity, I suppose it was my fault: I’m human. The human race is rightfully subject to nature’s wrath. We want and we take and we want all over again in an insatiable cycle. 

I am regrettably human in every aspect. 

It’s amusing how we long for those we have destroyed: language, culture, experience, trees—how superficial of us to regret events that could have been inevitably avoided, and how cowardly it is for us to regret it in the name of youth.

A child’s laughter echoes through the museum. 

My eyes snap to the caged tree. How wonderful, her voice carries. Can you believe they used to grow without the chamber? She taps her friend on the shoulder. They said that if we are careful we might see them grow in the wild! She smiles widely. All we have to do is make the right choices.

She laughs again, singing about the pictures of flowers her mom shows before bedtime—an unbelievable folktale she longs to believe. I hope there will be a tree for me and another for you, she says. And maybe we could have a garden.

A tear falls over my smile. They want and hope and want and hope: the child is so perfectly human in every aspect.

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1 year ago

A haunting image of nature artificially preserved. This story brings home our part in the destruction and the price we will pay. 

1 year ago

I really love this story, Dana. It makes me cry to think of a tree being housed in a glass case in a museum – a relic from another time. Some of your phrases and word choices are very memorable. The skeleton slouches, the soil bites and barks, the tree has dry tears. You seem to be quite a wordsmith! The saddest part is the fairytale that presents a dream-like world of… Read more »

1 year ago

Hello Dana, and welcome to Your photo first drew me into your story – it’s a powerful statement, stark and almost frightening. Not like the leafy green I see out of my window right now. Your story is very powerful, and hits the reader with a punch somewhat softened by the hope in the fairy tale. I thought your writing was excellent. Fuji has pointed out some of the phrases that… Read more »

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
1 year ago

Dana, welcome to Voice Club! I really liked your story. It is an eye-opener and if we are not careful, we might lose what we take for granted.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Welcome to Voice club, Dana. This story is tearful, Dana. I am sobbing in pain and agony as if my heart had been stabbed. It will hopefully be an eye-opener to everyone that we should take care of what we have now.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Dana Writes
1 year ago

You’re welcome, Dana. I am hoping that you will enjoy it here.

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