By James Morgan
There once was a man who owned some land
Many great plants grew on this land, some tall some short, some bright some dull. All were undeniably beautiful in their own right, but naturally some he held dearer than others.
There were two trees in particular that this man was especially fond of, the two tallest and most powerful trees of the land. When he was young the trees gave him shelter from the sun, they were guides to find his way home if he got lost. They were landmarks of his land.
These trees grew like no tree had grown before, continuing to help the man along the way, in whatever way a tree can.
Unfortunately, many years before its time, one of the trees became infested with termites. They began in the roots but had spent years unnoticed by the man, and by the time the damage was visible they had infested almost the entirety of its trunk. Its great branches waned under their own weight, its leaves turned brown and faded, and soon it’s once proud grandeur began to dissolve.
There was nothing that could be done at this point. The tree was dying.
It took time of course, but eventually the tree had to be felled. As the old thing fell to the ground, a great sadness spread across the land, with all plants great and small bowing in compassion.
After time, the man learned to live on, and tended to the rest of his ground as best he could, ensuring the other fauna could flourish where possible.
This was a time of balance.
After a while this balance began to feel normal. There was still shelter from the sun, guidance to find home and so much more. This was a time of balance.
But, despite the man’s best efforts, fate is a cruel mistress and soon the second tree also become a target for local termites. This time, however, things were different. He found the mites relatively soon after they first infected the roots, and threw a quick swing of his great axe, the infected roots were removed. And that was the end of it.
Or so they hoped.
Tales about termites vary in telling. Some say once infected, the tree will always die, whilst others believe removing infected sections can save the rest of the tree.
So for years the man had to wait and see what would develop. Was he fast enough with his axe to start with, or would further cuts be needed? The tree was growing old now, and there were only so many cuts it could take. The rest of his land had to grow on though, so tend to it he did. There are always more important things than just the most important thing.
It’s unclear how this tale ended and some say the man is still waiting, hoping the termites never return. Either way, sometimes it’s hard to be a man.