A Trail of Dead Trees

I was tired; oh so tired. Sleep for ten minutes sitting on the floor against the wall in the break room tired. The problem was not that my internal compass was broken. The problem was power, or lack of it. The problem was the absence of any influence or relevance to the final vision in the end. The problem was value. What was valuable to one person was different for another.

People were being used to the verge of human improbability. When there was nothing left to give modern day band-aids for insufficiency were introduced. Monster, red bull, caffeine gum, coffee, and cigarettes. Mortgages, mouths to feed, and dreams of a better time pushed these people ever forward steadily to slaughter. When they were used up and the light within them had extinguished, replacements were ever available, having nothing of their own and waiting eagerly for a chance to join the line.

With each step taken i saw the toe prints in the sand diminish and the tear drop stains of hooves against the earth appeared where once strong and vibrant humans had walked…walked to their end.

To God, your worth, your value; it doesn’t change. From the moment you are formed in your mother’s womb to the moment you draw your last breath; to him your worth is constant. In the world it is not so. A wise woman once told me “justice is not a thing of this realm, but the next one. You cannot fight all your battles securely rooted in this realm and expect a just end.” But i did. I expected humans to have rights. I expected people to do good unto others whenever it didn’t harm them to do so. I expected corruption to be dragged from the shadows and thrust into the light for all to see. I expected balance. I unfailingly always expected justice in this realm, and i was always disappointed.

I was not the type to kick and scream and throw things and words about in a tornado of verbal fury. I was always quiet initially. Once i had taken the thick smog fully into my lungs, breathing deeply in my new environment, getting a taste of my subject before i spoke on it, i would say my piece. It was as the noise of a pin drop in the middle of a rock concert. My words were lost before they left my lips. My voice was drowned and buried. There was no longer any point in wasting effort speaking.

Then there was anger. Quiet bottomless rage. It was empty, lonely, and deafening. Yet, it always warmed me from within. I didn’t like the feeling of this darkness. It felt dangerous, as if i was feeding a fire i wasn’t quite sure i wanted to know.

There was only one solution, one way to stop this growing fire, and that was to destroy all the fuel in its path until there was nothing left to burn. i finished my work quietly and returned to the homestead in silence. The axe and shovel were fetched and i would spend the night splitting old dead trees and prying at roots with the shovel in a fervent attempt to exhaust myself beyond the capability of rage. When muscles were shaking and limbs could just barely drag themselves to the house i collapsed in bed, secure in the knowledge that my body was so spent i couldn’t do anything about what was going on even if i made up my mind to.

If i was a more enlightened individual i might have taken a different approach, but i was a caveman. Things were very black and white for me and i didn’t live well in gray.

Lately i hadn’t said much to the dogs. I was busy, hacking at quiet rage. My only comfort in the knowledge that i was neglecting their social and emotional needs was the look on Cashew’s face as i thrust large chunks of tree and whole stumps over the fence to the dog run. She bounced around them as they fell and wagged her stumpy little tail. Off she went dragging a hunk of tree from her teeth, going in any which direction her hind quarters chose. Sili watched pensively from her corner near the big cedar. She was my thinker. She could not be fooled so easily with such a present. She smelled the smoke of depression and sensed that despair was nearby. She eyed me warily and declined my offer of her bone in the evenings. Instead, she would sniff my battered and bruised hands where my bracelet had hit my skin each time i swung the axe and a tree root had snapped within my grasp, cutting into my palm. I grew to love the cedar trees. They reproduced efficiently and grew fast. The property could stand to lose some of the young cedars if i ran out of dead trees to work with. They would grow back within a couple seasons. Every effective dictator would tell you, a person with will and ability is a dangerous thing. It was not time for a revolution. I didn’t want to let go of will so i released ability and left in my wake a trail of dead trees.

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