Note: This is another rough draft. This story popped into my head one day when I saw a collage created by a talented artist and friend, Robin Wiesneth.
The story was very clear to me – it was a tree that had sprouted between a place of fire and ice. What a lucky tree that would be, I thought, even though it may not realize it.
The very things that are shaping his life into something better are the very things he fears most. It’s the worst times in my life that have helped me the most. Because the tree found his perfect place, he was able to help someone else find theirs as well.
Please excuse my typos and be liberal with your suggestions as I share my rough draft for today.
The Tree Between Fire and Ice
The once was a glacier made from green ice and a volcano that spat fire and liquid glass. The two lived within a few feet from each other which caused issues between the two. The glacier constantly complained that the volcano was trying to melt him down and the volcano was certain the glacier was trying to dampen his heat. The glacier and volcano were constantly at odds with each other, but in between them there was a small pile of dirt neither could quite reach.
It was on that small pile of dirt that a beechnut was once dropped by a passing bird. The bird watched the little nut plunge down through the steam and smoke. “There goes breakfast,” the bird sighed. “No use looking for it in there. If it’s not burnt to ash it will be locked in ice. Either way, it’s a goner.” He flew away in search of another meal.
Many nuts had fallen on that land and suffered the same fate the hungry bird foretold, but this was a very lucky nut and he fell right into a small pile of earth between the glacier and the volcano that was just perfect for him to grow into a tree.
Where all the other land for miles around was either scorched or frozen, this patch was in the perfect spot for a small tree. The volcano melted the ice so the small pile of dirt was kept moist and the ice kept the volcano from overheating it. It was the perfect pile of dirt for a small tree and the only place a small tree could grow for 100 miles around.
The little nut sprouted and grew into a small sapling, warmed by the volcano and watered by the glacier. One day he noticed how close the lava and flame was to his tender trunk and he grew afraid. He tried to grow the other way, but then he noticed the freezing glacier that ground rocks into sand and would surely pulverize him if he were in its path. Caught between the fire and the ice, the little tree did the only thing he could and he grew up straight between the two of them.
The little tree often wished he had landed in a safer place where he didn’t worry about burn and freeze. He would stare up at the sky peeking through the steam and smoke and wish he could be up and away to somewhere that was all cool moist earth and no worries.
One of these days as he was staring skyward, a small speck started spiraling downwards to him. The tree watched with interest as the speck grew larger and then became a small owl. The owl was struggling to fly in the steam and smoke and was worn out completely. Finally, exhausted, it tumbled down where the little beech tree caught it in his branches.
“I didn’t expect a beech tree,” exclaimed the owl. “You must be the luckiest tree in the world to live here.”
“Lucky!” Said the tree with a protesting tone. “How do you think I’m lucky? I live my life in fear of becoming charcoal or wood chips every day.”
“But everyday you keep living,” pointed out the small owl. “Everyday you live and become neither. Looks to me like you are very lucky indeed!”
The young beech looked around and thought about what the owl had said. His patch of earth was rich and always the perfect temperature and moistness. Without the fire to melt the ice, he would be parched. Without the ice to cool the fire, he would be scorched. The tree realized, for the first time in his life, that he was in the perfect place for him the whole time.
He said as much to the owl who pointed out he must be a very lucky bird indeed to land in the branches of such a lucky tree, and the two became best friends. They lived together on their small patch of earth between a glacier and a volcano that turned out to be the perfect place for them both for 100 miles around, and that was good enough for them.
If only we could be so lucky… but, then again, we probably already are.