The day was bright, and so was her smile: any time she got to be surrounded by the harmonious buzz of nature — don’t get her wrong, she loves exploring the city and their strange contraptions of metal and glass — that just sing of home. So of course, she was delighted to accompany Mr. Solomon to his weekly hike.
Solomon is an interesting man, and as Saphira best put it, stereotypical portrait of a gentle scholar. It was difficult to see how he could easily adapt to the bumps and steepness of the mountains with his determined, willful wobble of a gait.
And embarrassingly enough, while Vega may or may not have tripped on more than a few unsuspecting rocks to avoid meandering snails, the old man maintained a steady pace of unhurried grace while offering explanations for each twig of vine that caught her attention.
They paused at the yellowing carpet of leaves, and he posed the question, “What do you make of these trees?”
“Hrm…” She recalled the way her father used to train her to attune to the songs of nature, to appreciate the sometimes harmonious melodies or their complete, organized chaos: then she realized, these trees, as she placed her hand upon one of the pale trunk, she could hear a deep, resonating tune.
As she shifted to another trunk, she found the same song. The motif rang with the other, and another. She suddenly realized that how strange it must have seemed for her to just pet different tree trunks.
Still, she had an answer, “They have a similar…energy. They are closely connected.”
Solomon appeared intrigued by her methods, but did not judge anything besides her assessment, “That’s one way to say it, I suppose. These are aspens, and they grow in large colonies of roots as to survive extreme conditions.”
“Oh…that makes sense.”
“How did you determine they are connected, Vega?”
For some reason, she assumed that the old man and his gentle smiles would understand, “It’s almost like a harmony they emit. A song that if you listen closely enough to, you can hum along, too.”
“…” Solomon settled on looking up at where the sun settled upon the gentle netting of tender, new, yellow leaves to highlight speckles of glistening gold. “Sometimes it’s not something that is visible, the deepest, strongest connections. But, what differentiate us from trees if we only realize our dependence upon our allies when all is gone into cinders?”
A metaphor should leave just enough room for the audience to immediately attach themself, and Vega was trying to decide which way would be the most meaningful, “A lesson of mutual appreciation, perhaps?”
“Yes, maybe even a lesson of realization. Or of family,” The old man seemed contemplative. “For someone like me in their old age, with most of their kin gone, it’s always good to remember that they still are my roots, and by reaching out to catch the ethereal bath of the stars and be a fine lesson to meandering passersby, I carried on their purpose. And, that we are always together because of it.”
When he averted his gaze from the skies to meet her, it was as though he felt the pain of those sleepless nights when the thought of never seeing her parents again won against her usual optimism, and when he smiled she noticed that dust got in her eyes so she wiped at them. She almost heard the familiar voices whispering back, “We are always here for you.” She shook the ridiculous notion out of her mind that her parents’ voices would just be there.
Instead, it was just Solomon, with his usual knowing, sorrowful smile as he, too, heard those echoes of the past.
“Let’s go before sundown, child.”
And so they retraced their step, the determined wobble accompanied by the light skip of a gait lightened by profundity.