Great Forest

The world is different than his, much different.  It feels as though he’s stepped through the dreamscape, like his seer has chanted him into his tribe’s deep sleep and awoke him in another place.  Then he remembers that’s exactly what happened.  I am in the dreamworld.  His heart quickens with excitement and he looks at the different world around him. What he can only assume are flora, stretch upward to impossible heights.  Their peaks disappear in clouds that part around their tops like water over rock.   Yet the flora is nothing like home, a strong base sits at the center of the plant, then skyrockets upward with the greeny life on its limbs.

And the scent – the air is different.  Fresh, is the only way he can describe it.  The dry smell of home is gone, and instead the world around him is filled with the wetness that hangs in the air.  But the biggest difference, is the season.  Or rather, lack-there-of.

Back home, behind the veil of the dreamscape, it is winter.  The bushes have changed in color and shed their leaves.  The world is setting up for a deep hibernation.  A deep dream.

Winter is here, but its indications are not.  The chill has set in, yet the large, tall bushes keep their color.  He bends down and picks up some of the flora that has fallen from the towering behemoths.  Green, he thinks.  Green in winter.  They feel like needles, the same kind his grandma uses when mending his clothing.

Who are you, a voice calls to him.  He quickly turns, startled, eyes wide with surprise.  Yet no one is there.  No one is around him, he is alone.

Who are you, the voice says again.  He takes one more glance around.

I am here, the voice says to him.

“Where?” He shouts.  “I cannot see you,” more quietly.

I am all.  What you see is where I reside.

“I see nothing but bush, grass and a half fallen winter.  Come out, show yourself!”  He grips the handle of his axe tightly, waiting for an ambush.  Knowing it’s an ambush.  Dreamscape may be a dream, but there is as much danger here as there is in his own dreaming world.

I am all. The voice repeats, he can’t figure out where it was coming from because it seems to be coming from everywhere.

“What is your name?”

I have no name, for I am all. It responds.  Though if it serves your thought process, you may call me Tree.  For I am here.

With the final statement, the voice came from his right.  He turned to follow where it came from and saw a massive plant.  Its base would take fifteen people to get around the whole of it if they locked hand-in-hand.  Unlike the rest of the plants around, its base never seemed to get thinner, even when it disappeared in the clouds above.

“You are Tree.” The dreamscape traveler says.  “Your world is very different than mine.  We have never seen… “ He searches for a minute, “Trees such as these.”

And I have never seen one such as you.  You move quick, but seem frail.  How do you stand against the mighty wind? How do survive the cruel winters?  I see no roots to your trunk.  Its voice was slow and steady.

“I have shelter for the winters, and a jacket for the wind.  My roots are held in my past.  How do you eat, with no mouth to feed?”

I am all, my roots run beneath you till the end of this world.  Each-  the voice moves to another tree behind him –  are connected.

When he turns to follow the voice it moves again.

 For I am all.  The sun gives me our food, and the clouds bestow their nurture.

“Amazing…” the boy says, now sliding his small axe back into his belt.  “You are all connected.”

I am all, the Tree agreed.

“They’ll never believe me back home.  Flora as high as the sky!  Who could come up with a world so grand?  How long have you been here?”

I am familiar with the concept of time, though I am unsure you can conceptualize the time I have become familiar with.  This world has gone through billions of cycles, and I have witnessed them all, for I am all.

He began to ask another question when the world began to shake at the periphery of his vision.  It blurred around the edges and lost its focus.  Everything seemed to be washed in a thin layer of water.  He tried to rub it from his eyes but it was to no avail.  “My dreamsleep is ending, great Tree.  I hate to go, but I have no choice, these things do not abide by our will or want.”

I don’t understand.

“Neither do I.  Please, how can I show everyone what I’ve seen here?  Before it’s too late.”

Look to your feet and you will find a part of me.

He looked down and saw nothing but stones and grass.  Things were harder to see now, a black veil had been thrown over everything as if dusk had fallen.  He couldn’t quite concentrate, he rubbed his eyes again and tried to shake it off.

“I see nothing, but rocks and dirt.”

Look harder, and find a stone the color of my arms.

Then he saw it, a pebble no bigger than the palm of his hand, it was elongated and had ridges and bumps on the side of it.  He ran his fingers over it and regarded its impossibly intricate simplicity.

That is part of me, dig a small hole and plant that seed.  In time I will grow and become what I am here.

The traveler is practically blind now, his vision was blurred and it started to shake violently.  The Tree’s voice seemed a distant memory, echoing in his subconscious like a dream he was starting to forget.

“Will I talk to you again?” he calls out desperately.

Plant the seed.  We will speak.  I will bind this world to yours and we will speak.

“But how?”

How?  The Tree responded.  Because I am all.

The vision, the smell and sight of the dreamscape vanished.  He awoke to the dry smell of the Dreamseer’s hut.  The old man had stopped chanting his chant, he sat stoic, legs crossed beneath him.  If he heard the boy wake, he made no sign.  “Where did you go?” he asked finally.

“To another world,” the boy said breathlessly.  “I was there, I was actually there.

The old man smiled slightly and regarded the child with a small amount of pity.  “The dreamscape is an ethereal world, it is of the mind, not the heart.”

“But I was there!”

“It is hard to distinguish between the two worlds,” the Dreamseer said kindly.  He rested his hand on the boy’s shoulder and smiled, “I have traveled there many times and yet never been there.  What did you see?”

The boy looked down, not noticing his clenching fist.  “I was in another world.  Green and fresh.  Great flora shot up from the ground and reached past the clouds.  I spoke with a great being.”

“And who was this great being?”

’I am all,’ ” the boy repeated the being’s chant.  “It called itself Tree.”

The old man smiled once again, “you see, it is just another dreamscape.  There is no such thing as a world with flora that high.  You have much to learn, young one.”

The boy looked back down, this time something caught his eye, he opened his hand and saw his proof.  Still holding the elongated stone of the Tree, he lifted it up and grinned a toothy smile.  “It gave me this!” he cried, now holding it with both hands.  “I almost forgot, it is a piece of It.  A breach in the dreamscape.  He told me to plant it.  I do not know what will happen, but I think he means to speak with me again.”

The boy paused and waited for a response from the Dreamseer.  When he got none, he looked back at the old man.  His eyes were wide and glossy and dead set on the relic the boy held in his hands.  For the first time, the boy saw his Dreamseer speechless.

Completely speechless.