Frangipani, a short story by saeria. Date added: 2006-01-27. Times viewed: 1056.
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- Intro: The story of a lonely frangipani tree. Who can say what defines a soul?
- The energy of a soul manifests itself in many more forms than one
could possibly imagine. When a person assumes their new form will be active
and find themselves a stationary creature, they prepare for a lifetime of
loneliness -- or so I would have thought.
For me, as I passed on I dreamed of being a swift, darting about in
the evening sun. I would have a tittering cry like a child's laughter yet
instead I found myself less than amused to find not only could I not stretch
my wings, I had no wings to stretch.
There atop a hill stood a lonely frangipani tree. That was me. One hundred
and Forty Springs ago I sprouted from the earth, feeling stationary, unable
to move or see. Worst of all, I was unable to speak. It wasn't all bad,
however. The wonderful thing about being a tree was my ability to hear the
whole world around me. I could hear where the wind came from, and the tiny
ants drumming antennae against my sapling skin. I could hear the sun beating
down on my verdant leaves and the rustling sounds of caterpillars feasting
upon my abundant foliage. I could hear every bird that had ever been in my
branches, the crows that bent my boughs so far down I feared they would
break. I could hear the soft patter of rain, tears from the angels weeping
for our souls. But I could not speak.
One morning, I heard the first blooms of the season slide open, like tiny
rusty hinges grating, rasping almost inaudibly. I could hear the wild,
sultry scent of them, calling the bees in their droning language. As I
listened I heard an unfamiliar sound that I later learned to be footsteps. I
could hear something nearing, perhaps waiting to pluck a bloom from me (as
they were always for the taking) or just smell them. or even hear them. I
was curious to find that this entity did neither.
"I am but one man, do you understand, tree..." the creature spoke. It was a
man. I wanted to nod, I wanted to agree, just to speak to him, and answer
the tinge of sorrow in his voice.
He sat beneath my lowest branch, for a moment puzzled by the scent, and then
brightened himself by noticing that I was a flowering tree.
He spoke of love, he spoke of loss, of desires, of impossibilities, of
hopelessness, of brokenness, of shattered dreams, of sadness, of stale tears
and wine and for hours I just listened, and every now and then the wind
granted me an acknowledging nod. Then the man perked and looked up into my
"It's almost as if you're listening to me, beautiful tree." He laughed,
amused at the idea. I heard him pat my trunk firmly and close his eyes. His
eyelashes rasped against his skin as he thought to himself.
"Very well then. Be well, beautiful tree" and he walked away.
I listened to night ascend almost immediately. The day sounds turned to
night sounds, of stealthy owls and creaking crickets. I could hear the stars
in a clear sky, Pleiades was right above me tonight. For the first time I
noticed the existence of memory. I ran thru all the thoughts the man had
spoken, I remembered the sound of his firm hand on my trunk and the heady
silence that followed. I remembered.
The next morning I heard the same footsteps and the husky sound of his
breath leaving his lungs in over-exertion.
"You, my new friend, are a frangipani." He stated matter-of-factly and took
his place at my trunk, between two roots that acted almost like arms about
to reach up and embrace him.
I remembered what he had said yesterday, and he told me how he felt today. I
heard him cry a great deal and I had an emotional response for the first
time. I wanted to weep and I heard nectar begin to seep slowly from my
blooms, drawing the bees in a heavier fashion than normal. Much too soon the
man stood and said
"I must be on my way, dear friend, thank you, frangipani."
As he left, I felt sorrow, yet I also felt happiness that he had returned.
That day I felt emotion for the first time.
For years he came, every day to sit within my root-shaped arms and speak to
me of his thoughts and slowly I began to learn more and more about how to
become a developed soul.
I could remember,
I could weep, and feel laughter
I could feel touch, and warmth and cold,
I could feel compassion, and pain
Then. I could feel yearning.
Yearning was the one thing I should have never known. It's a cruel emotion
for a stationary being. It grew to be a pain so great I could barely stand
it. I listened to him speak every day for years and found myself realizing
that I yearned for his company but I could not tell him.
I yearned to speak.
One day he did not arrive and I felt fear that he would not, yet I felt
certainty that he would be back the next day. Were Fear and Certainty
contradictory to one another? Or were they a compliment? I knew I would have
many more springs to consider this.
Just as the night sounds descended upon me I heard the familiar footsteps,
and for the first time I saw his for. At first he was a hazy blocky image in
the dark. Suddenly, as the full moon rose, I could see the gentle curve of
his lips and the vibrant amber gold glow of his deep-set eyes. I gently
brushed my lowest leaf along his strong brow and he seemed to smile up at me
as if for a brief moment he could truly believe that I had waited all day
for his return.
"Oh, dear frangipani, you've been the best friend I've ever had, without
saying a word. Sometimes I wish you could tell me you've been listening,
that you've got a whole lifetime of thoughts stored within you. I will be
leaving so quickly, so soon, I must move on. I just wanted to tell you, my
listening frangipani, how much I appreciate you. I wonder though, with all
the wisdom a tree must possess what makes a person a person, a soul a
complete soul, is it feeling, or remembering, or hearing or seeing?" And
with that he began his trek down the hill. Just as his footsteps began to
wane I learned to love.
"Love. like yours. makes a complete soul" I would have said, but I could not
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