In the Beginning - a Tree's Story
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I don't talk to trees … honest. At least, I'd never admit to talking to them. But if I were the kind of girl who might find herself talking to an old oak tree on a chilly fall morning, asking why its leaves were falling off, and if that tree decided to answer me, this is the story the tree might have told me.

In the beginning, there was no Earth. There was just the Tree and her Leaves floating in the middle of the sky like the head of a dandelion gone to seed. On the one side of the Tree was the Sun, and on the other were the Clouds. Because the Sun was much younger then, it could only keep part of the Tree warm, so it would orbit around the Tree, trying it's best to keep her and the Leaves warm.

Because the Clouds stayed on the other side of the Tree (they were much shier of the Sun then), they were very cold and only snow fell from them. The Tree would reach deep into the snow, drawing the icy crystals up through her trunk, and then (with the help of the Sun) melt it into drops of water to feed her Leaves.

For a very long time, the Leaves would follow the Sun from one side of the Tree to the other. One day, some of the Leaves wondered why they kept on flying back and forth and decided to stay put. The Tree tried to warn them that she would not be able to draw up water to feed them when the Sun left. The Leaves, not realizing what would happen when there was no more water, ignored the warning.

Soon, the idea of staying spread among the Leaves. They all were a bit tired of flying back and forth and decided to stay too. When the Sun began it's trip to the other side of the Tree, none of the Leaves followed. Eventually, as the Tree had warned, the water stopped flowing when the Sun moved away. But it was too cold by the time some of the Leaves thought about flying after the sun. Instead, they huddled together to keep warm and waited for the water to return.

They waited … and waited. Soon, the Leaves dried out, became brittle, and fell to bits. The bits drew closer together, still trying to keep warm. The bits broke into smaller pieces until they became the Earth. When the Sun reached what the Tree was starting to think of as her branches, she realized none of her Leaves had followed.

She looked down and found the dried, shriveled remains of all her Leaves clumped around what she was thinking of as her roots. The sight broke her heart. The water she would have used to feed her Leaves fell like tears. The tears pooled together until they formed great seas. Some of the Leaves who hadn't completely died were revived and became life in the sea. Other Leaves that only received a little bit of water became life on the land. A few of the Leaves were even able to fly again and became life in the air.

But all this life was a pale shadow to what the Leaves had been and the Tree continued to cry. Then something wonderful happened. Some of the bits of the dead Leaves were drawn up with the ice crystals. When the sun warmed the ice, it also brought life back to the bits and fully revived Leaves popped out of the Tree's branches!

For a long while, the Tree happily drew Leaves from the Earth. But the time came for the Sun to move on, and the Tree could no longer feed her Leaves. Again her heart was broken, but there was not enough water for her to cry. One by one the Leaves fell to the Earth.

Just before the last one let go, it said, "Do not grieve for us, Mother. For a wonderful moment, we were with you again. Now it is time for us to return to the Earth. When the Sun returns, you will be able to draw those deeper down in the Earth. Eventually, when we are deep again, you will be able to draw us up too. In this way, we will always be with you."

With that, the last of the Leaves fell.

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