(Image by Anthony Majanlahti)
I love the feel of the cool gentle breeze against my tender green leaves. Their sheen reminds everyone that there is no other tree equal to me in the whole of Jerusalem. My deep brown bark has faced many a harsh summer and my lofty strong boughs have swayed to many a strong wind. I pride myself on my exquisite beauty.
I will not have those pesky birds making nests on me or those wild humans sitting on my majestic boughs. After a lot of practice I have now found away to shake bits of old twigs and dried up branches on to them—old unwanted parts of my beautiful exterior. They no longer come to sit under my shade anymore! The other trees faraway send me whispered queries through the wind asking about the secret of my exquisite and unique green leaves. I pretend not to feel their queries as the wind gently nudges me waiting for an answer to carry back to the other trees.
Let me assure you though that life is not easy for a well adorned creature like me. Envy is an expected reaction. Why, just the other day those measly short brambles that have conveniently grown themselves close to me (to bask in my glory I’m sure!) had the nerve to gossip about me. Through their muffled chuckles I heard them say that I didn’t bear fruit like I should and that I was selfish and conceited. The audacity of those dried up lumps of shrub who dare to call themselves members of the plant kingdom!
Bear fruit?! ME??! Hah!! And let another creation like me come into existence? Not a chance! I am unique. Never will there be another like me. Besides, why should anyone else eat the fruits of MY beauty?
Anyway nasty things forgotten, lets talk of things more pleasant.
Wait a minute…I see a cloud of dust in the distance. I think it’s a group of people. It couldn’t be! Are my eyes playing tricks on me? Am I indeed to be blessed by an opportunity to see the great preacher himself? Yes! There’s no mistaking the prophet from Nazareth. His face glows and his eyes are filled with compassion and firm intent.
Wait – he walks toward the path where I stand! Oh how I shall boast to these silly brambles and the other worthless trees that I have seen him! I shall show him my best leaves and arch my boughs with pride. I shall sway majestically so that he notices the lovely green hue of my leaves. He looks at me now! But what is this I see in his eyes? Anger? Grief? He asks me something through his unspoken words. He asks me for fruit! My magnificence and beauty hold no meaning for him. At last he speaks…and how painful his words are. He utters a curse on me!
I feel a deep groaning in my roots.
The sounds of death and the smell of rot are taking over my beautiful branches. My poor leaves are turning into ash. Is there no one that can change my fate as a dried up and twisted piece of wood on the dusty road? People will hack at me with their axes. They will feed me into the flames to keep themselves warm and feed their families.
And as he walks away from me, I see the glint of tears in his eyes.