Here is Part I of my next fable!
Near the northernmost corner of the California coast, a comfortable village hugged the conifer-studded arms of the rugged mountains. A wildly twisting river found its way through thick, dark forests, around steep mountains, and across high meadows, down past the township, and into a generous bay. The coastal plain welcomed the frequent fog, tenacious moisture that discovered every nook and cranny of the distinctive landscape, traveling far up the river until it was chased back out to sea by a bold offshore breeze and the glorious sunshine.
In a quiet neighborhood on the edge of the village, on an overgrown lot, a young Red Cedar burst through the canopy of the neighborhood trees which had held it captive since its germination. It soaked up more than its share of moisture through eager roots, to make up for years of drought, and basked in the sunshine of its eastern aspect. In the cottage below this enthusiastic evergreen lived an old woman known to her kind neighbors as Grandma.
Soon after the cottage was built a young couple moved in, and with the energy of newly married homeowners they deposited a tremendous variety of fruit trees, shade trees, and evergreen trees into the soil around them. They planted with such enthusiasm, and the abundant moisture nurtured their landscape so well, that after a few years they were forced to leave, because there wasn’t enough space left on the crowded lot to satisfy their appetites for gardening.
When Grandma arrived to make the cottage her home, the trees were still small. But like her young grandchildren, they grew so rapidly that soon she hardly recognized them. As the years tumbled past, Grandma’s grandchildren were measured against the swelling trees that reached thirstily for the dripping sky.
The Red Cedar was the thirstiest tree in the neighborhood, and spread above and around every other trunk in sight. By the time Grandma’s youngest grandchild was grown, the cottage was a cave. During the many years that Grandma inhabited the cottage under the Red Cedar, her family, friends, and neighbors offered her their kind advice and assistance in managing her crowded grounds. The majestic limbs of the largest tree reached so far above the neighborhood that they sheltered every home in sight. The thick branches of the Red Cedar blotted out the sun, and the twisting roots churned up the soil, split the pavement, and drank all the rain.
The lower limbs reached down to the ground, forming a cavern that attracted children like a playground. It made a perfect fort and hideaway. As the children grew and left their parents’ homes, the hideout attracted transients escaping hard times. It was a perfect camping spot.
Grandma listened with patience and a sweet smile adorning her cheerful face. She nodded to all of her well-wishers and advice-givers.
“Just a little trimming,” some suggested.
“Only remove the lowest branches,” they pleaded.
“We’ll do it for you,” they offered.
“No, thank you,” she replied.