So, I have settled into London more or less, and I don't really love it, its wet and rainy and windy and a lot like Moscow. Yuk. In addition to that, everything here is so organized, and so correct, I dont know if thats good or not, I'm not used to everything being so planned and systematic, I'm used to everything being chaotic and sort of messy and random. I'm just not an organised person myself either.
Well, here's a chapter.
And by the way, I got lost in the city today trying to find my acommodation house and accidentally got onto Fleet Street! Lol. Well, I cant say it was anything unusual. Just a street. But it does have that charm about it, that only ST fans understand I suppose.
Hope you enjoy this one.
greets from London! Fingers crossed for some sunshine tomorrow.
XXVIII. The Eternity Fir
A tree can touch the sky when you are young; a bird can reach heaven just by flapping its wings, and rainbows are roads that lead to another world.
A story can be real when you are young; a dragon sleeps just behind that parked carriage, and a red fairy hides among the tomatoes in a grocer's cart. He loves stories, and he believes that the tallest trees, the cypresses and elms, the yews and even pines, reach up to heaven. And he dreams that one day he will grow tall and strong enough to climb up one of them, and hear the angels sing.
They, the street boys, they all loved stories. He was not the only one, not by far. The street boys, they all looked for sparkles from a wand in the dust on the floor, they saw gold in the droplets of water that rose from under the loud wheels of a carriage, from under the hooves of a horse. They told stories to each other by dark of night and by light of day; when it rained, and when it was dry. The story was bread when there was none to put in their mouths; the story was light when they thought the night would never end.
One of their favourite stories was that of the Eternity Fir. It was their favourite simply because it concerned one tree that grew in Hyde Park. It was the tallest, greenest, most beautiful tree there, and perhaps, it was the most beautiful tree in London, because no matter how much it rained, the branches would not sag or bend, become drab in colour or droop. It seemed so fluffy that one quite forgot about the needles that were leaves upon that tree.
To him, as, probably, to many other street children, the tree was proof of heaven, and for sure, if he climbed to the top of that one, if he just managed when he was a little older, old enough to reach the lowest branch, he would be able to hear the angels sing.
The story of this tree was, that long ago, long before men began riding around in fancy carriages and wearing top hats, long even before man could read and write, one man living in a swampy, constantly flooded land that would later become London, once found a bright green seed floating in the water that drenched the ground. This man had never seen a seed before; he had only heard of lands where men could bury seeds in the ground to get more and more seeds from tall, green trees, where delicious fruit could also grow. So, he took the seeds and buried them under the wet ground. He had little hope that they would grow into a tree since everything was so drenched the seed would surely drown, and perish. And yet, the seed grew and grew, grew into a tall, beautiful tree. And then, when it reached its tallest, a spirit, a woman with green hair and eyes, appeared to him. She told him she was grateful to him for reviving the tree and not destroying the seed, for it was no ordinary tree; he had, in fact, saved the spirit of the earth that had resided within it. By doing so he had proved himself different from all other men, who had no respect for nature.
And so the spirit told him that as a sign of gratitude for his kindness to nature, she would take all the water that swamped the ground and flooded it, and send it to the skies…and so, dry land appeared beneath the man's feet, and yet the sky was eternally clouded and thunderous, for all the water that had been on the ground now filled the heavens above it…the land that would become London, where the Eternity Fir would grow forever, unaltered. For it was not a tree, but a spirit.
And because this spirit was the mother nature, all the children of the street, all the abandoned ones would come to the Fir and touch it, rest under its lush green branches and inhale the fresh coniferous scent of its resin.
The boy, full of misery from a bad day, strolled over to the Fir. The other children laughed at him when they saw him talking to it. And yet, all of them had done so at least once, when the troubles became too much to bear.
He approached the tree, and looked at its great branches and beautiful emerald-green needles.
'Hello there,' he said, his voice quite small, 'I didn't find anything to eat today. Mister bread-seller got fed up and said I cant get free bread from him any more; I got kicked in the shins by some rich boy who lives in one of them big grey houses and lost the apple I found yesterday.'
The tree usually remained as silent as death; and yet, the boy jumped as he heard a woman's voice answer. The voice was rather cracked and tired, and yet, for sure, a woman's voice.
'You talking to me, son?"
The boy looked up at the Eternity Fir, aghast. Could it be that the spirit of the forest had finally answered him, after so many monologues? The boy opened his mouth to answer, but his throat was too constricted to allow that. For a moment he reflected on that; the spirit had not said anything since those first words, and the boy figured that if he continued being silent, the spirit might tire of him and not answer at all, even if he spoke again after a length of time.
'Yes," he finally said, feeling relieved.
"What's it then?"
"Well, I'm rather miserable," he wondered how he should address her. He did not know her name, or what men – or boys – called her, and so he just settled with, "madam."
The spirit did not respond, and so he resumed talking. "I have no mother, no father, no-one to turn to, and now I am like to die on the streets of hunger…"
The spirit was silent for a while. "We're all miserable out here son."
The boy looked up at the tree, puzzled. He wondered why it – or, should he think she – would feel bad – the best tree for miles, surely, so green and tall and beautiful, surely tall enough to hear the angels sing every day, surely tall enough to reach the sun through the clouds, the sun that no other tree could reach.
"But why are you miserable, madam?"
"I had a little baby too, you know, little red-cheeked baby." The spirit paused for a while, and sighed. "She left. Left me all alone, alone and lonely," she continued chanting the two words, alone, and lonely, to herself, quieter and quieter until she became silent again. "Come round 'ere, I'll give you a hold and a penny."
The boy stared at the tree, his eyes wide as saucers. He had heard amazing, awe-inspiring stories about the Eternity Fir helping people, about money falling from the green branches like raindrops, but he had never believed those tales to be any more than that – just tales. Now, however, he found himself edging his way around the trunk of the Eternity Fir, looking for those miracles he had never believed in.
He gasped. A woman was sitting there, at the base of the tree, looking expectantly at him. She wore a tattered bonnet and dress, she was dirty and looked as though she had lived on the streets for years. Had the spirit summoned her, to give the boy comfort and money? Why, then, had she not brought him a rich, clean, sane woman for that purpose – surely if the Spirit could do anything, she would give the best to those who asked for help?
The boy stopped short in his thoughts. He must not be greedy. He had heard those older and wiser than him, those who had become the best friends of the street say that one who was greedy could never be happy; once one had something, the would always want more, and then more, and the desire would never let them find true happiness. So he sat down by the woman that the spirit had surely sent, and she held him, she pressed him close against herself and ran her blackened fingers through his hair.
So this was what it was like to be loved, to have a mother. The boy closed his eyes and laid his head against the woman's chest.
Surely, the boy believed that the Eternity Fir, the beautiful tree of Hyde Park, had sent the woman to him. And indeed, how would one doubt the power of the eternal green, of nature, of things that remain constant forever? Her mother's instinct, unperturbed by anything she had gone through, surely had its roots in the spirit, in that spirit of nature, that the boys, the children of the street, called the Eternity Fir….