Sunday 21 September 2014

Short Fiction - Ysgaddril by Will Macmillan

Image courtesy of Simon Howden /
Will Macmillan's story 'Ysgaddril' was the third prize winner in October 2013's short fiction contest.

Ysgaddril by Will Macmillan

I don’t know about you, but I love trees.  I spend as much time as I can walking in the woods and talking to the trees.  They are alive you know, and everything that lives talks and communicates to its fellows in some way.  Look at the oak trees.  Did you know that you even get male and female varieties?  So they love and mate as we do: only it all takes place over a much longer life cycle than ours, obviously.  They talk, they must talk, and I try to hear them and understand their romance.

If you’ve any spark of romance in you, then like me you probably get drawn to the lone tree.  Don’t you love the image of the single tree on the skyline of a ridge?  Especially when the rosy fingers of a summer dawn glow on the leaves, or the cold, sweet light of the moon shines stark through the bare branches as the autumn wind howls.  At times like that the lonely tree still talks, but to whom?

Well, to me for one.  Every year at this time there’s one special tree on a skyline for me.  It isn’t far from where I pass the days, and one night in the year I go and sit there beneath the bare spreading branches and talk to the tree of the season fled, the approaching winter and the spring beyond.  Does it hear me?  I’d like to think so, for I always rise from the grassy seat feeling I have been refreshed and gifted with enough energy to last me the coming year.  One reason I think of it as my tree of life.

Sometimes as I walk away down the ridge with the grey dawn rising at my back, I look back and outlined with the branches I can see my body hanging from the tree, just as I left it there all those years ago.

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