By: Catherine Lynch
Genre: Environmental Prose Essay
The rebels trudged through the brush of the arboretum with starlight entangled in their hair. Hushing each other as they went, they checked behind their backs to make sure no one was following them. The plants that they maneuvered around promised them cover despite their stepped-on limbs. Those ferns knew the students were doing their hardest to avoid harm, but their limbs were clunky, so it was expected they’d flesh-wound the underbrush. Snap! Crack! Snap! Through the underbrush they marched with seeds of wildflowers spilling from their pockets. The birds paid them no mind. Their lungs sung out for the day, snug in their nests, and winds tucked in for the night high up in the hickory trees. The group uprooted the soil at the bed of the lake and found a giant feeler in the ground. Who could this root belong to? They questioned as one young girl stood up from the mud and followed the trail. Who else could have such a presence in the arboretum but the century-old sycamore tree? The king of the garden reached so high he faded into the night; so tall he reached beyond the stars, and the young girl wondered if he hung the stars himself. For yards and yards, the sycamore’s roots commanded its brethren, directing their roots where to go and conversing with them daily. For how boring would it be to be a silent century-old sycamore tree?
“You are not to be here,” the roots warned the seeds as the students planted them. Those roots were the minions of the forest and sent their reports far past the paw paw patch to the old sycamore tree.
“Allow them to grow,” the tree commanded in the rustling breeze, and the roots fell silent at the order. And as the girl bowed her head against the bark of the sycamore tree, the king warned, “Never forget my generosity.”
The wildflowers grew as the welcoming commenced, and, as spring came, more people came to view the paw paw patch. And the students were punished for performing the deed because it meant more people wouldn’t want the arboretum destroyed. So, the park became protected for the beauty the students created and those rebels of the night were welcomed by the sycamore tree to bask in the shade of its great limbs.
Edited by: Reagan Greenwood