Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Willow and the Ivy Covered Oak

When the moon rose over the silver splashing stream that wound its way from deep within the viridian woods, there where the bend caused the water to overreach it's banks and spread like quicksilver between each blade of the verdant swath that spread from the breaks in the trees, the white light of the moon slid over the bark of two lonely trees that quivered in the naked light. One a tall and slender willow, with branches wide and leaves of silvergreen spearheads that slid and caressed across one another with the faintest of whisper in the windless night. The other an old white oak, gnarled and long dead that had found life again as the growth of ivy, greenest of green, had engulfed the dry wood with it's twisting form and rose as billowing clouds from pale twisting branches. And as the shadows deepened and danced across the bark, there was a strange tremble in the ancient wood as if a creaking and groaning and two doors long shut were finally moved on ancient arboreal hinges. And as the folds of the twisted willow bark were parted as curtains by fingers pale and ancient as the forests from within the deep darkest corners a face was seen, with eyes that glowed with faerie light. For of course this was no ordinary wood, and the stream that wound from deep within its bounds was enchanted and it's waters were what made the trees in the woods come alive and these two trees who stood at the bend where the enchanted river water splashed from the banks had drunk deeply of the river for a thousand years. So whenever the moon was full and the night was dark and even the wind fell under the spell of the soft light, then the trees would come alive unlike any other time. First the willow stirred under the light's soft touch, and leaving the dark folds of it ancient slumber, its pale wiry form pushed from within the warm enclosure of the outer bark. And as it's ivory skin glistened in the moonlight, while muscles taught and joints stiff from long slumber flexed, it ran its fingers through its leafy head and closed its eyes and yawned a drowzy yawn. And its soft gaze fell upon the old white oak which stood a ways away on the other side of the silver stream, that age old friend who grew with it. And as the bright silver eyes of the willow fell upon the oak, the green glowing eyes of the ivy wrapped oak looked back from within the shadows. The willow stepped upon the bright green grass, feeling the pulse of the silver stream's magic waters as they flowed through the course of its rootlike feet with the power of all creation. And the willow began to dance upon the silver water, calling the dainty balls of golden light, the fireflies woken from their slumber. And as the willow danced the wind began to stir with the faintest of music on the breeze. The long distant laughter of summers now passed and the golden warmth of lazy star scattered nights all reached their songs back to the place where the river bent and where the willow now danced upon the banks. The willow's song roused the ivy covered oak and in dusky tendrils of viridian it slipped from its slumber and stood in the shadows watching the willow. The green eyes glowed brightly as the twisted and gnarled form placed it's hand dark as a pine forest and veined with shadows upon its heart which had come alive at the willow's song. But before it could slip from its hiding place the river rose and trembled and quivered and strange shapes and ripples ran counter to the quicksilver current. And the willow retreated from the rising flood and climbed into the branches of the tree. And the figure in the shadows retreated to it's home as well and could only watch as the river rose more. For they knew not that far up high above the hill from where their river came, mankind had breached the safety of their enchanted woods. And they knew not that the men had built a dam there to hold back the river. And they knew not that those foolish men, not realizing that this was a wild river and one that could not be tamed, had been overcome by the forces of the river and the wood and the dam had been undone. But what they did see was the sudden rush of the silver stream growing and spreading and drowning those poor prickles of grass and touched the trees first the roots and then the trunks. Both figures climbed higher and green eyes met silver in return. But there was no way to cross the river and reach from one tree to the other. And still it rose higher and higher. The willow, it's branches low and stooping could climb no further and watched as the angry river rose and rose. But then from the shadows there was a crack and a groan of pain. And the willow watched in horror as the old oak fell sideways across the rushing torrents. And from the shadows of the ivy leaves a hurried whispered could barely be heard, telling the willow to get upon the oak and escape as soon as it could. And so the willow was saved and rode the old oak tree to the shallower part of the river and when it disembarked from that ark of salvation, it turned to the ivy in thanks. But the ivy was gone. For the old oak had not stood by its own volition for many years and the ivy had grown all about and around and even throughout it, keeping it up. And when the ivy had let the oak finally fall, it had pulled it out by it's very roots. But there at the base of the broken roots was one small curling vine of bright greenery mark with shadow. And the willow taking that last bit of life, walked into the darkness of forest, seeking another old oak that needed new life.

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