A lumberjack was at work cutting trees in the woods. Exhausted and drained by the heat, he decided to take a break and picked some fruits from a nearby tree and made himself comfortable under the cool shade of the tree.
Before he knew it, he was in the sweet arms of deep slumber.
After a while, he woke up to the sound of vigorous rustling of leaves. The lumberjack woke up haphazardly, only to realise that he had been asleep for days. It took a moment for him to absorb the surroundings.
The forest was now looking like a destroyed battlefield- dull, grey and barren.
The air which was once filled with sweet scents of the fruit and the melodious chirping of birds was now still with a deafening silence.
It seemed like someone had sucked the air out of the environment.
The lumberjack looked for the source of the rustling that woke him up. The tree under which he was resting was the last one standing.
He then realised that the ruffling noise was actually the tree sobbing. He couldn’t believe it at first and his doubts were about to get stronger.
“Why do you look so shocked?” asked the tree.
The lumberjack faltered on his feet,”are..are you.. how are you speaking?” He fumbled.
Tree smirked and said, “Everybody knows that we are living because we produce our own food and grow on our own but nobody expects us to have emotions of a living being.”
“I..I didn’t mean to offend you. It’s just that you don’t find a tree crying everyday” the lumberjack justified.
“Yes you do, you just are too busy and selfish to acknowledge it. Every time a tree dies, the birds and animals cry on its behalf. Every time a flood or drought disturbs your lifestyle, you cry on our behalf little realising that it is our death that you are mourning” the tree said staring on the ground.
The tree continued with a grim face, you see, for us, the whole world is our one big family. Our mother nature brought us to the earth and everyone was coexisting happily taking just what was needed from the environment.
But then you my brothers and sisters were introduced to power. You were so tempted by the idea of being superior that you stepped on those who cared about you to climb the ladder of power.
At first, we were happy for your progress, brother. Believe me, we were. What you didn’t realise was that the ladder was endless. Each step along the ladder required more of us to lay our lives for your pursuit of power.
I have accepted my immobile, helpless fate. I cry for our mother nature. Who fed us with nutrients just as it fed you with food. She gave us a responsibility as elder brothers to look out for our immature siblings. I tried my best to keep that promise. Yet, I can’t help but weep to know that all of our Mother’s children are nearing their doom.
You are not just killing us but are destroying yourself in progress. The oxygen, food, shade which you so ungratefully enjoy, are no more now. Look at this forest, bereft of life that once blossomed here.”
The tree finished to see the lumberjack crying “I am so sorry. We did not for once realise the cost of our selfishness.
You are the epitome of sacrifice and humility.
You deserve to have the abilities that we have.
You use the sunlight minimally to cook your food, you expect nothing and give us everything we need.
Your lives are spent in loneliness standing at one place…” “ That’s where you are wrong. Once, our lives were full of squirrels and birds playing with us. Even some of you built your houses on us. Now everybody is dead except you and me.”
The realisation struck the lumberjack, “ What, NO. Everybody can’t die. It can’t be too late. There has to be a way. Tell me I’m dreaming.”
“You are dreaming, but that is what you have been doing all your life. You dream about how your actions will bring you success. For a change today, you are dreaming about where your actions are actually going to take you in few years from now.”
“You are not alone. Some of your brothers and sisters have already realised it and taken steps to protect our mother. You must join them and awaken the others.” The tree slowly faded in the background. The lumberjack woke up with a new sense of possibilities. He looked around and realised that damage control was still possible. He packed his axe and resolved to never use it again. The trees rustled their leaves in synchronised manner. By this time he knew, that they were not sobbing but cheering him on.