Drifting: A Gift. (3)

(Third Part, read part 2 Here.)

I climbed barefoot. The bark slid gently beneath my feet and scratched my calloused toes. I lifted myself eagerly from branch to branch; gliding up to the top of the massive tree. I felt no fear of falling. The tree was holding me just as much as I held it. The thought comforted me as I climbed. I was very high now, where the branches became thin and flimsy. I rested there and gazed out towards the sea. I was looking for a sign. A sign that someone was looking for me, that maybe I would be found. I had done so every day for the past two weeks since arriving on the island. I saw nothing.

My routine on the island was a simple one. I scavenged for food and explored. I survived solely on the fruit of the trees and the water from the creeks. There were no animals on the island. None that I could see. It was always silence, yet this did not frighten me. The trees kept me company. Their massive branches tilted towards the sun during the day, and continually gave me shade. I journeyed to the Father Tree’s base at least once a day to speak to him. I felt that he enjoyed the respect I gave him, and I felt like it was necessary. It was his island, and I was his guest.

After continually hoping someone would come to my rescue, and seeing that none had come, I had finally made the decision to leave. The Father Tree seemed to know before I even told him. There was sadness in the air, but also contentment. When I finally turned my back on the Father Tree for which I knew was the last time, a great hope welled up in my soul.

I strode back to the beach with determination in my veins. Once I caught sight of the shore, however, it melted to despair. My little lifeboat was gone. Taken away by the rising tides. Never to be seen again. I was stranded. The trees still whispered happily to each other. I bitterly thought they were mocking my distress. I kicked a rock and bit my lip as my toe surged with pain. I yelled and sat on the beach hard. I covered my red face as I cried. My adventure had just begun and I was already lost forever, with no hope of return.

The Father Tree must have heard my cries. The trees were not mocking me, but joyfully comforting me. I just didn’t see it. The roots were growing before my very eyes close to the edge of the beach. They erupted from the ground with fury and force. They jutted from every direction and interlocked together, pulsing and fusing in fierce beauty. I could see it forming. The hull sharpening to a point, the wood beginning to glisten as if it had been oiled ten times over. It was not plank and nail, but root and thorn. Once the boat was fully formed it was raised above my head, the keel gently brushing against my hair. It was laid gently in the water, with a powerful mast with great green flowing sails. I hopped inside and ran my hand over them, softer than silk. I could see the knots of age within the boat, a history only other trees could appreciate. It was brand new, yet I knew it was made from a tree much older than me; whose spirit was still happily residing inside it.

Inside the boat there was a small room, lit by the same orange flowers from the island. It had casks of water and fruit growing on the inside. There was a small cot in the corner with fresh green sheets, and a small desk with a pen and ink.

Back on the deck another wave of panic hit me. I don’t know how to sail this, I thought, but as if in response to my sudden frustration the sails unfurled, and the ship pointed itself towards the open sea. I turned the rudder and the boat turned exactly where I wanted to go.

The only question was, where did I want to go?

Home I thought, wherever that is.

I turned back thankfully and gazed at  the mysterious island. Dusk was settling in, and the island was beginning to light up, as if saying goodbye. The Father Tree was a beacon of life, shining brighter than all others. I turned away with tears stinging my eyes.

The wind picked up in the sails as I glided away from the island. Heading west.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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