#shortstory #papertree #eucalyptus #layers
He sat with his legs crossed next to the tree. He had never noticed the tree before. He sat and wondered at the intricate openings and layers of the bark that protected the tree and how it called to him.
He grabbed one piece. It was soft and fragile and nearly disintegrated as he attempted to pull on it. He grabbed the next one. The same. He had to do this slowly.
So many layers. He began in frustration. The sheets of "paper" were small and torn but he as getting better at it. The outside bark was rough yet the inside had a soft, suade-like surface that he couldn't stop touching. It was beautiful. He was beginning to feel one with the tree.
He learned to pull back just right. Everyone once in a while some sap or some water would stream out from behind a layer. They weren't tears, but he swore they felt like it. He would stop when this happened.
After a while he would have a stack of "paper" next to him. The story of the tree. The storms and the squirrels and that small accident with the landscape vehicle... They were all written on these sheets. They were the trees memories. He was, on some level, trying to lighten the load for the tree. The tree would release trapped water and it would stream out like tears, but he imagined the sun's warmth and the breeze brought comfort with it and would help the tree realize that this peeling was inevitable.
He knew some one else or something else would help the tree shed some of the weight. As he peeled back the layers he noticed the beauty of the tree. The different colors. The different textures.
The tree was powerful yet open and vulnerable. He stopped. He loved the tree. He knew that there would be plenty to peel and it didn't have to peel all himself nor did he have to do it all at once. It was a matter of doing it.
He stopped. He stood up and looked at the stack. It wasn't much but it was substantial. He looked at the tree. He spent almost two hours with it and was done. For now. He looked at the tree. He loved the tree. He hugged the tree. As he held it some sap and some water streamed out and covered his hands.