Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: AGREE TO DISAGREE (05/04/17)
TITLE: A Cloud's Compassion
By Katy Foster
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A little tree stood awkwardly in the forest. No unique features adorned the tree – no blooms or distinct markings. Its entire frame was quite asymmetrical, rooted a notable space away from other trees, not because the little tree chose that space. It just happened to be the spot where its seed sprouted.
A small deer would rest beside the tree each day. Considering the tree had small roots, the land surrounding it was flat and soft for the deer. The tree felt that its task in life was to stand strong for this deer.
“It depends on me,” proudly explained the little tree to surrounding trees. They scoffed, as expected. The responses hurt the little tree, and its only refuge for praise was from a cloud that would pass by from time to time.
“Well done, Little Tree!” the cloud would exclaim, and shower the little tree with rain, like kisses, and the little tree felt loved.
On chilly days, the kindhearted cloud glided through the sky, moving other clouds with it, to reveal the bright sun. The rays of sun shined warmly on the little tree and the ground around it.
“Thank you,” whispered the little tree.
Days passed by in the large forest. Many trees lovingly held new baby birds. Others covered animals in the hollows of their trunks. Others burst with beautiful blooms accompanied by flittering butterflies and buzzing bees.
The little tree stood as strong as it could, careful not to envy, and joyfully awaiting the return of its companion. Its hope rested in the coming of that deer. However, sometimes the deer didn’t come, swooping the little tree into sadness.
In late spring, a strong wind invited the leaves of the forest to dance, a fun experience for the entire forest. Yet, the hosting wind grew relentless. The little tree noticed her friend, the cloud, coming over the forest.
“Will you stop this wind, please?” requested the little tree.
“No, little tree. I won’t,” answered the cloud.
The cloud grew darker, releasing rain. The wind grew fiercer, and the little tree was scared. Trees were helplessly bending as the wind triumphed. All around the little tree, crashes and booms resounded. The cloud remained fierce over the little tree.
“Please help! I’m scared!” pleaded the little tree. Yet, the storm was so noisy, the little tree could not hear any reply from the cloud. The sky brightened with frightening lights and monstrous booms.
“Cloud! Cloud! Where are you? Please help me!” the little tree cried in pain from its fear.
The sky was so dark, the little tree did not see the cloud positioned over the little tree. The angry thunder and a bolt of lightning struck the little tree’s trunk. One side of the trunk curved over onto the ground with attached boughs and branches, invading the spot where the deer always rested. The rain pounded. The little tree was shocked in misery. There was nothing left that the little tree could do. It was greatly disfigured, and the little tree believed it had no purpose, and nothing.
After a few minutes, the storm subsided. A somber, quiet darkness engulfed the forest, as after a lost battle. As morning began to show its light, the tree could see that the cloud thickly stretched out over the ground of the forest, as if trying to hug every tree as tightly and closely as it could, including the little tree.
“Thank you, Cloud,” the little tree’s voice cracked. “I know I’ve never had much, but now I have less. I don’t know if I even have you.”
“Little Tree, you still have me, and you now have more,” gently replied the cloud.
“OK,” but the little tree’s grief rejected the words.
Days passed with no sign of the deer. Finally, one afternoon, the deer slowly ambled its way to the little tree, looking tired. Following the deer was a fawn. The mother settled down beside the tree, and she turned her head to look at the damaged tree. For some time, she stared sadly at the tree. The deer then scooted closer to the tree and laid its head on the ground in such a way to touch the trunk of the tree.
The fawn noticed the damaged branches lying on the ground, and found delight in scurrying underneath the branch. Here, the fawn found comfort; and here, the little tree felt the down of the fawn, hugged the fawn, and loved its family.
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