There was a tree that stood, up on a hill, where once there was a forest.
It’s aged branches and bark showed the violence and abuse of the passage of time. It stretched over the ground where it stood, casting a shadow deep across the meadow where its brethren once hardened the earth with their roots.
Now and then the wind will blow through the valley and spin bushes and flowers off into the darkness of night. And the tree stands.Unmoved. Even when the farmer would threaten to come around and cut it down to size one day. Even then it stood. And when the children lurched in fiery disgust at the fruit in the valley, they would know that there is a tree on the hill where there once was a forest, and its fruit has known no impurity.
There was a tree that fell, where once there was a forest.
Now the wind blows unopposed through the valley, and over the hill. The farmer stares on from the comfort of his home, with no tree to bother him.
The children visit the hill and tell stories of the tree with the fruit that knew no age. The soil has grown soft. The children’s smiles grow wide at the thought of the tree, and there are tears shared amongst those who knew its taste most.
The day becomes night, and the wind howls over the hill. But there is no tree to oppose. Just bushes rustling in the dark.
“Perhaps we will grow our own tree” whispers one of the younger children. “Perhaps.” Replies another. “I am told there once was a forest here” whispers the child once again. “…And a mighty tree” says the other.
This piece is dedicated to the life of Ahmed Kathrada. Apartheid activist, a champion of human rights, and a father to the nation. Rest In Peace.