The Last Tree

Where have the birds gone? There were few as it was, but now… now they no longer sing to us in the morning.

But what do we know? We sing and we dance as we hew. With a rustle of leaves and a shaking underfoot, the last tree falls. Those who are more knowledgeable than I say that there are yet trees in other areas of the island, that we must simply trade for them to continue our way of life.

I am not so certain. Since I was a boy, I have climbed the cliffs that border one side of our village. I saw the forests stretching across the valley where we live. I saw them wither. But I saw beyond our valley too, out onto the lands to the south and west, lands that had been covered in trees, but are now flat and dry.

Maybe, maybe if I had been willing to listen to Grandfather’s words instead of just hearing, maybe I could have warned my people. But no. What do the young know? They believe that their lives, like the world, are inexhaustible.

The lumbermen set upon the tree with their stone axes, clipping off the branches that are worthless to us. They throw them into the fire around which we dance. Oh, and we dance. All of us, our entire village of one thousand twenty, we dance around the remains of that last tree.