Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Out of the Mouths of Trees



Boru’s men had already thinned our ranks, chopping down the tallest of we Clontarf trees, and particularly those closest to the sea; lives lost that the man-king might have a battlefield in which his soldiers had clear view of the enemy’s landing. Though I weep for the loss of my brethren, were it not for the slaughter I’d not have been able to relate this story, as I was an inland oak until this wasteful human strategy unfolded. It was odd at first, the ability to visualize that which I had only smelled for the whole of my first century. Its salty spray would dampen my young leaves each spring, when the winds shifted from westerly to nor’east and the towering waves would fling foam into the boiling skies. The taste was exquisite yet always left me longing to see what it was that had provided a spice to my ordinary atmospheric stew; and now that curiosity had been satisfied by the misguided hand of interspecies bloodlust. I’d rather it had been by natural causes, from dieback or even the fires of lightning, but no matter, it is done.

I understand that Boru seems a danger to those who have come, those who now row their longboats through the churning surf. Having near united the clans of Ireland was a bold move and wise in my opinion, though I admit as a tree I was hardly suited to express an opinion, nor was I asked for my elder counsel in any case. Yet it was obvious, to even those of us considered less than intelligent, that the endless laying to waste of village after Irish village would only be stopped by the unification of the peoples of Eire to the benefit of their own defense; that the constant caterwauling about this neighborhood triviality and that insignificant tribal border needed to cease, lest the Vikings always face splintered opposition when landing upon the green for purposes of rape and pillage.

It would seem silly that we trees would feel a stake in self anointed human miseries, save the fact that each culture has its own view of the spirit of the forest and its ultimate uses. The Irish have learned to accept our gifts wisely to date, they farm little so have cleared few acres, they build homes of sod and berm and use few logs in the making.

The Vikings on the other hand are a greedy lot. I can only imagine their native lands are barren rock or even sage swept desert; those topographic nightmares I’ve heard about from transplant seedlings carried across the sea and planted by the scat of migrating birds. Those barbarians strip the land clean as if gypsy moths; what they don’t cut they burn, what they don’t burn they damage with their crude forestry, and leave to rot in the roiling winter fogs and continuous drizzle.

I pray for an Irish victory for those reasons, but I fear I may be too late with my penance. It appears the Irish have been outnumbered greatly, the Norsemen of Dublin have brought barge loads of mercenary fighters; Danish Vikings and by the looks of it, the hated Angles and Saxons of nearby genocide Isle.

It is a sad day for we trees, the Forests of Emerald on the Island of Snakes. Even now as I witness this tragic rout, Brian Boru himself has been stabbed through the heart from behind, as he knelt outside his tent praying to his God for divine intercession. Methinks even a God of His stature would not have been able to stop this horde, the High King of Ireland would have been better served with his sword swinging, than his hands clasped in an attempt to coax the Christian almighty into protective rage. By the looks, we are conquered and divided once again. I am sure the blessing that has been my unobstructed sightline will now become my curse, as no doubt I am already being eyed by the shipwrights as mast material, or worse, by the pagan priests as funereal pyre fodder. I can only hope the humans find a way to collectively lay down their arms within the next thousand years, that by the miracle of peace my children’s children’s children’s roots are not fed by the same rivers of blood as are mine on this most malicious of days.

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