Friday, July 20, 2012

WOE: The Secret Tree

Write On Edge prompt: A little Robert Frost:

"We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows."

Secrets poison the soul.  A secret will crawl into a person, before they are even aware that it is there.  It will curl around the heart, and let nothing else in.  Secrets, if they are big enough, build walls between people, separating them from each other.  Too many secrets isolate a person and keep them from their loved ones.  Humans were never meant to keep secrets.

Yet the world is full of secrets. No matter who or how high in the world, there is likely  a secret inside.  Maybe a small secret, like a brownie filched from an untended plate.  Maybe a big secret, like stolen money.  Some have only a single secret, hidden away in the darkness.  Others have many, many secrets, festering in the endless recesses that exist in the human heart. 

Those secrets bring people to me, pulling them inexorably to stand underneath my canopy before they reach the end of their lives.  They wait, staring up into the branches, wondering if they have the courage to give up what they have held so close for so long.  It can take days to unfurl every tentacle of a secret, but it must be done.  Secrets poison the soul, their walls hindering the passage to the afterlife.  No soul can enter the Heavenly Presence stained, and those who cannot give up their secrets remain outside the doors until they come to me. 

So the people come, and they whisper to me, as if we were familiar confidants.   Some place their cheek on my bark, and hug my strength to them as they let go of what has kept them apart from the Creator. Once spoken, their secrets rise above them, floating into the air, pulled in among the leaves and branches.  I take those secrets and weave them into new buds, tendrils of new growth.   When I have reached the end of my span, when my leaves have fallen to dust and my branches turned black with the rot of the dead, all of the secrets will be absorbed into the earth, and a new sapling will emerge, to take my place.

Secrets poison the soul, but they also give the earth new life. 


  1. What an interesting way to look at it and give life to all of those things that linger said and unsaid in the air.

  2. In so many ways, this is beautiful.

  3. this was really kinda ... badass. i really liked what you did with the prompt.

  4. First of all, having the visual of the tree in my mind when I'm reading this was perfect. It is true that secrets can build wall between people and rot things. I love the imagery of the secrets floating up the branches, becoming buds and then the new sapling like the circle of life.

    1. I was trying to find a positive from a negative, and new leaves and shoots are pretty positive. At least I think so. ;-)

  5. I absolutely loved this image and this idea. What a great take on the prompt!

  6. First of all, thank you for posting a story that's NOT just a snippet of a much longer work! I'm getting frustrated with those.

    Love, love, love this. I love that we didn't realize it was the tree talking until about halfway through. I love how perfectly it fits the prompt about being in the center... and knowing.

    I've seen trees like these. At the Thomas Jefferson estate, Monticello, two of them flank the walkway to the main entrance of the house. It really does feel like you can walk inside the tree, since the branches bow so low that they actually rest on the ground.

    Gorgeous tree, gorgeous words!

  7. Love the tree! This post reminds me of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. Well done!

  8. Love. This.
    What a beautiful way of seeing.

  9. I love your perspective, and the visual of the tree really helped bring your words to life.

  10. So, so beautiful. What a wonderful idea.

  11. That's such a lovely idea; I can tell I'm going to be thinking about it for days.

  12. Oh how beautiful! I love your telling this from the tree's perspective. Super post.


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