The kind tree and the nuthatch

There was once a tree which a nuthatch truly knew to be kind. When the wind blew scathingly and the tree felt the nuthatch to be uncertain in its step on the bark of its trunk, it would give up his nearby branches to the storm, to be wrenched into a safehaven of foliage. When the wind only ruffled gently, the nuthatch taught it the joy of a cold stream tickling the feet; delighted the tree in its ways.

The tree's heart and mind were under the forest moss, a conjunction of its bristling roots and the living earth in which they wound. But it could feel the smallest knot of bark on which the nuthatch landed; could guide it with a drop of golden resin to refract the sunlight.

The nuthatch did not belong this far north, and the time came for it to return. Four deer came to the tree when tiny, though to some it was aloof. In the slow vigour of its resin veins, in the strength of its inner wood being pressed into rings, the tree would teach them its kindness; feed them from its bark in the winter, from its buds in the spring and early summer, from the blueberries and foxberries nestling thickly underneath the high branches on one sunny side of it in the late summer and autumn.

But the tree knew a deep sadness — had always known it. Lightened by the calm coming and the going of its leaves, by transcendent days of early spring moss in longed-for warmth of a morning, by the first footprints of its deer-children in corruscating snow, but irremovable.

Much time passed. The nuthatch would send word to the tree, and the tree would send word to the nuthatch; it was proud to hear of the nutcatch quietly carrying out its work in the thickets of its home.

Yet one day the tree felt anew the touch of the nuthatch's little wing on its bark. The nuthatch told, long into the night, of open sea, of lighthouses on skerries, of low hills of rock and grass tumbling up from the shore, of forest, here like that of which the tree was part, there like the plains of a Western; the tree felt what the nuthatch had felt, and the nuthatch, hopping from trunk to branch to trunk, learnt in the lines of the wood, silently, of the deeds of the tree's kindness in the time that had passed.

It was a visit of a day. Much time would likely pass once more, but the nuthatch would come again; the tree's sadness would again be crashed away like the open sea against the skerries of which the nuthatch told with the rare happiness of being truly understood. This was enough.

Composed during the evening of the 23rd of May, 2022. Written down in the evening of the 25th of May, 2022.

Last updated: 13:12 (GMT+2), 31st May 2022