Monday, April 29, 2013

The Woodcutter

The woodcutter finally found the tree. It was the tallest of the forest, yet the thinnest of all.

But he wasn’t here to chop it down. Five days ago, after arriving at the forest with the company, the woodcutter had been dreaming about this tree. The woodcutter identified it, and was certain that it was the same tree.

He had ventured alone to find it. He had left the camp at 4 o’clock. Armed only with a flashlight and a new axe, the woodcutter trekked the forest for three hours. He didn’t know where he was going. He was only guided by a need to find this tree.

The woodcutter touched the bark, which was smooth as if it never aged. He hoped that an answer would enter his mind. He waited for a sudden flash of knowledge, a sudden awakening, a spiritual intervention that would relieve his stress and illness of this world. He wanted a sign that the forest was alive. There was nothing. No flash, no awakening. The birds chirped somewhere above the branches.

Disappointed, the woodcutter took his hands off the tree. He held his axe and began chopping away. The woodcutter yelled obscenities at it and berated himself for believing a fairytale dream. What were the odds that a single tree would match the same tree in his dreams? Probably a lot, but he was no statistician.

With one final hit, the woodcutter sent the tree crashing down, its branches dragging other branches with it. The tree slammed against the earth, sending a shockwave that sent the birds fluttering. The woodcutter knelt down, suddenly fatigued. He looked at the sky and saw an eagle circling at the empty patch of the forest. The eagle cawed, and the sound thundered throughout the forest. The woodcutter collapsed.

He woke up inside the first-aid tent. The moon was out. No one was around him, not even the nurse on duty. The woodcutter got up from his bed, took an axe from outside. He entered a tent nearby and began chopping the other woodcutters.

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