The next tree

One morning Brooke looked East, pinpointed the tallest tree and began walking. When she reached it she repeated the task, until, at the edge of the city, her journey gathered pace. She moved swiftly across the farmlands, tree-to-tree, towards the great forests.

There, progress slowed again. Choosing the tallest became difficult. Sometimes she travelled only metres before having to repeat the task.

At last she came to a clearing with a towering Ash at its heart. From a platform high in its canopy came a bright, ‘Hello.’ A rope ladder dropped and a wiry boy zipped down, landing beside her. His name was Julian.

She explained her task, feeling sure it was complete.

‘Oh, but there’s a taller tree than this. I’ll take you if you like.’

They walked for three days until a mountain giant loomed before them. The tallest tree.

‘Why not protect this one?’ she asked.

‘No one else knows about this one,’ he said

‘Then I’ll help you save the other.’

‘It’s too late. That tree will soon be cut down. I stay only to be with it.’

‘Then I will stay too.’ Brooke took his hand between hers. She had found a love with the strength she sought. And if it were not entirely for her, well so be it.