The Last Standing

By Andrea Bickford, Staff Writer

There was once a Great Forest that was dense with trees and overgrowth. The trees lived undisturbed for hundreds of years. They grew happily, without any limits. Until one day, the loggers arrived in search of fine wood.   

The Great Forest was previously untouched by humans. The loggers soon realized that the wood from the trees of the Great Forest had a valuable trick; It could not be burned. The bounty of the forest was too great for the greedy loggers to leave alone. The loggers brought heavy machinery, large trucks, chainsaws, and axes. One tree at a time, the loggers began to invade the forest. 

There was an old and wise tree, more than two hundred years old. The old tree was desirable to the loggers for its size. It stood mighty against the elements at more than one hundred and fifty feet tall. The old tree seethed at the sight of the loggers cutting down other smaller trees. 

The loggers eventually discovered the old and wise tree at the heart of the Great Forest. The old tree was not going to tolerate the loggers’ destructive behavior. A logger began to take measurements and set up equipment around the old tree.   

The old tree saw the loggers and their preparations to cut at its trunk. In retaliation, the old tree suddenly dropped all of its branches down to its trunk, allowing the resting snow to fall down to the earth. The wave of snow covered the loggers and damaged some of their machines. Accepting their losses, the loggers went home for the day. 

The next day the loggers returned to clear the snow from their machines. The tree stood and watched, pleased with itself. A few hours later, the loggers finished clearing all of the snow away and continued with their work.   

Picking up where they left off, the loggers marked the old tree to be cut. The loggers got ready to cut into the tree’s side with a chainsaw. The old tree could feel the chainsaw slicing into its trunk. Quickly, the tree thought of the perfect solution; Sap!   

The old tree began to ooze copious amounts of sap through its fresh wound. The loggers watched in amazement as the chainsaw struggled to cut through. Eventually, the chainsaw burned out as the sap junked up its engine.   

The sap was so thick that the loggers couldn’t remove the chainsaw from the tree. They sat there baffled, wondering what to do now. The old tree stood there satisfied once again, but it knew the fight was not over.   

Other loggers continued to cut surrounding trees down, which angered the old tree even more. There were hardly any trees left in the Great Forest. The loggers went home for the day and the old tree waited for their return.

The loggers once again returned to the Great Forest. This time, they tried to take the old tree down using an axe. The old tree saw a logger approaching with an axe in hand. The old tree was eager for the sweet moment when the logger dared to take a swing.   

As soon as the first chop of the axe resonated up the trunk of the old tree, it released all of its pine cones and pine needles at once. A wave of coniferous debris pelted the loggers and impaled their skin. The loggers winced in pain as the needles poked them from inside their uniforms. 

Another unsuccessful attempt at cutting down the old tree discouraged the loggers. They felt as though they had been beaten. The loggers blamed the unfortunate events on bad luck and decided to leave before their luck got any worse. They did not return. 

By that time, the loggers had already cut down most of the surrounding trees. The Great Forest had suffered an extraordinary loss, but so had the old tree. 

The old tree was dying. Bending its branches to make the snow fall had snapped many of them, leaving the old tree bare. Producing the sap in high volume left the old tree too hungry and weak to heal itself. Releasing the pinecones and pine needles left the old tree with nothing to survive. Despite the old tree’s efforts, the forest was going to die with it.   

Three days later the old tree began to collapse. The remaining trunk of the tree fell onto the ground. The old tree knew that this was its final resting place. As the old tree took one last look around the empty land, it couldn’t help but to feel failure.   

The old tree had not succeeded in saving the forest. That is until it saw a sprig of green appearing from the ground. There were countless saplings sprouting from the ground. The wise tree saw that many of the pinecones dropped on the loggers had given the earth new life. There was hope and potential for a new forest to grow over the scarred land.   

With that last glimmer of hope, the old tree dies.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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