#137 – The Tale of a Tree in the Forest

Once upon a time, in a beautiful forest that was yet to be placed on any map, there lived a Redwood tree named Acacia that was as noble as she was tall. Acacia had been alive for so long that she was now the tallest tree in the forest. On the day this occurred, she was given the responsibility of controlling the seasons to ensure the survival of all of the forest’s plants and animals. Despite the number of seasons she had experienced herself, Acacia was not sure that she wanted such a responsibility, but the decision was not up to her. “Thinking is very different to experiencing,” her father had told her. “You must listen to all that is told to you, but only when you act, will you be ready to learn.” One could almost hear the forest itself mourning the day her father fell down in the forest, but, after one day of respite, it was up to Acacia to maintain the forest on her own.

Her duty began on the first day of summer, and, as the sun’s rays beat down on to the multicoloured treetops below her, Acacia tried to remember what her father had taught her about controlling the light. You will want to share the light equally between your friends in the forest, but you will not be able to reach everyone, she remembered him saying. As she looked around her, she was convinced that she could manage to get enough sunlight to the young trees below by controlling the light to move through the gaps between the branches of the larger trees above them. The more Acacia tried to force the light through, the quicker and stronger the bigger trees continued to grow. After several weeks, Acacia realised that the trees were growing so fast, that they were blocking the light from reaching the lower part of the forest altogether, harming the very saplings she was trying to help. Acacia changed her mind and spread the light evenly over the treetops. This approach worked well, and she was filled with happiness to be able to see growth in all parts of the forest for the first time since taking control.

Having found a rhythm in spreading the light, the first signs of autumn crept up on Acacia so quickly, that she initially thought she was doing something wrong. Without much warning, there appeared to be fewer hours to spread the sunlight and Acacia panicked at the sight of the brown leaves on the treetops below her before realising that she was experiencing the familiar sensation of her own leaves falling from above. You will lament the loss of thousands of leaves around you, but rest easy knowing they still have work to do. Acacia’s father was right, and she felt hopeless as the leaves continued to fall to the ground below. To save their energy, Acacia directed the trees to cease growing and, knowing that she must find a way to keep the forest beautiful, requested that some trees begin to flower. The greens and the browns were soon replaced with pockets of colour and Acacia felt proud of what she had achieved on her own.

Acacia struggled to control which trees were meant to be flowering and which of them were not. Soon, many of the trees started getting jealous and were insisting on flowering themselves. The next several weeks tested Acacia’s resolve and there was more than one occasion on which she was very close to giving up herself. Just as she thought things could not get much worse, a single piece of snow fell to the ground, sending the forest into a panic. The trees and animals were worried about their children and were demanding that Acacia stop the snow at once. Although she had been given this responsibility, she could not control when the elements arrived.

Acacia could hear the echo of her father’s words through the trees as she tried to think of ways to bring calm back to the forest. You must learn to use that which frightens you to your advantage. For two days, Acacia tried directing the snow behind the mountains surrounding the forest, but this only caused her to become more exhausted. Realising a different approach was needed, Acacia thought back to when she was little. I remember sleeping, she thought, and suddenly it dawned on her: She needed more snow, not less. She directed the snow to fall at a tremendous speed, covering the ground everywhere and forcing the animals and plants to sleep throughout the rest of the winter.

As the snow eased, Acacia awoke feeling energised. She drew on the leadership of her father, ordering the trees to cease flowering, but, the more she demanded, the more the trees continued to flower. Give the trees a chance to grow themselves, her father had explained. This is a chance to take in the beauty you have had a hand in creating. Acacia decided to allow the trees to make some of their own decisions, guiding only those who requested assistance. Eventually, some saplings started showing themselves to the sunlight, making Acacia proud of her accomplishments and receiving praise from those she was attempting to lead.

Acacia was now ready to take the lessons she had learned from her first year and move ahead with confidence in taking control of the next four seasons. She welcomed the summer sun rising over the mountains in the distance and she directed its light evenly below, allowing her friends and their children to grow amongst a forest she was proud to call her own.

THE END

My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.

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