The Tree's Nasty Habit

 There was once a tree who had a nasty habit of wanting to be all alone. And, as often happens with those who wish it, the tree was all alone. All the grasses and flowers and other small saplings, all the shrubs and sprouts, even the smallest of creatures, had abandoned the tree to its own wishes.

    It is, perhaps, needless to say that the tree was not happy about it.

    At first, when everyone had begun to leave, the tree was thrilled. Not delighted — 'delighted' would be too nice a word to use for what it was the tree felt deep within its trunk. No, it was thrilled; the kind of feeling we get inside of our hearts that holds on and quivers with equal parts horror and desperation, clinging to something we know isn't very good for us. That was how the tree felt. Precisely.

    And, indeed, the tree did hold on to its feelings. It held on so tightly that it didn't notice when its leaves slipped from its branches even though it wasn't Winter. It didn't notice when its bark began to shrivel even though it had enough nutrients from the soil. And it didn't notice when the knots on its branches began to tighten so that they jutted out so sharply that not even a distant bird could land for the smallest moment on its branches.

    Cold crept up into the tree. 

    Then came the rot.

    The next thing the tree knew, it was rotten to the core.

    As it slowly slipped down, down, down, the tree regretted very much that it had driven everyone away. So much did the tree regret it, that it used every bit of will it could to change its very nature so that as it sunk into the ground, things might be different. When the tree has settled into the dirt, it offered the last of itself to make the loveliest soil that had ever been.

    When the next year came, in a fresh new May, things began to grow everywhere the tree had spread itself. And that was how the tree found itself far from alone.

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