In a departure from my usual strictly observational writing style, the following came out of one of the exercises we did: the mythical voice. Not being seasoned in the whole concept, I think I have actually combined all three voices.
Conversation with Apple Trees
She pulls her journal and a green pen out of her bag and settles into the quaint bench. Really it is not at all comfortable, with its twisted-vine back; she thinks her life is a little like that－not quite a fit yet. She misses the garden she left behind; the one she had nurtured, pouring her life blood and tears into raising like a third child after
the first two had left the nest. She allows herself a moment of grief. But as she looks around, observing what is here in this garden, she forgets her discomfort in the bench, and her memories, choosing to be mindful of the moment.
Her eyes are pulled to the two apple trees that centerpiece the garden. The one near the gate is a sturdy, middle-aged tree with healthy branches bursting with ripening red-splashed fruit. Her trunk began leaning early in life, stretching for something outside the straight path of expectation. Later it forked and reached back for the familiar. The wayward path is the larger part of her, with many and strong branches. But she is balanced by valuing where she came from.
Tree: My path, like yours, has not been straight. I explored outside of the expectations. But my limbs are strong, I am healthy and happy. I am growing. You are looking at the result of my unconventional life and finding me interesting. I am like you in my stretching and searching; yet here I am, rooted in this familiar garden.
The second tree is the crone: a wise, elderly woman. Her single trunk is ramrod straight; lichen encases her brittle branches. Though her south side is full and bearing fruit, her northern exposure bears evidence of great loss. She carries on with what is left to her with pride and a fierce spirit.
Tree: I took a different path than my companion in the garden did; a different way than you did. Whether it was choice or happenstance doesn’t really matter. My straight path has served me well. An important part of me has left my side, but my essence remains strong. I may be old, but as long as I am able, I will bear fruit. When it is time for me to leave the garden, I will; but until then I am here living life. Don’t count me out.
The two trees bear witness to one another, and to the woman who sits on her uncomfortable bench and listens.
Woman: Trees, what does your relationship to one another have to teach me?
Trees: We are here together in this garden; but unlike many trees of the forest, we have not grown together and do not need to hold one another up. We are here, together, encouraging the other, providing support when it's needed, and respecting one another's independence.
The crone said: See this bench beneath my branches? Many like you have come here to sit with me, and many more will come. The village is here with me, sitting at my feet and learning from my wisdom. My fruit drops from my branches and enriches the soil, providing nourishment to living and growing things. My soil will continue to provide life long after I am gone.
The younger tree went on: In her strength, now waning, the wise tree has taught me and loved me. She continues to show me her courage. My branches are still growing. Those to my north and east and west are seeking new adventures. But see my strong branches on my south-reaching trunk? They are growing, too, and stretching out to reach the wise one. They will be there for her when she needs them. Sometimes I am stubborn in my independence; she has taught me that, too.
Woman: I am afraid. I don't know how to do this. I'm afraid that I will do it wrong; that I will let someone down; that I will not be able to live up to what is expected. I am afraid I will lose my way and my self.
Trees: You will take it as it comes, and figure it out as you go. That is what you have done all your life, and it has always worked out. It is what we have done. It is what we all must do. It is the only way there is.
The woman thanked the trees and rose from the bench to continue her walk. She had much to contemplate.