The tallest tree

treeHe lived in this towering solitary tree that soared above the forest canopy far below, and he had always lived here.

Though he wasn’t a bird but a man, he lived in a big nest made of twigs and things that floated by in the warm breeze.

Long ago, his father had been here too, and not so long ago his mother, but they had both gone the same way.

They died. And fell from the limbs. He watched them both, in those different years, fall to the canopy far below, crash into it, pause a second, then slip from view, passing through. His mother had not gone so long ago, just last week.

He was alone now.

He had no brothers, no sisters. He had never known a woman, not really. His mother had been beautiful once, and his father had been handsome, but that was long ago. They grew old, as would he, though he did not know his age.

He ate bugs and fruit, and he was slim.

His father too had been born on the tree but his mother, he had been told, had shimmied up from below. He had always noted the vast difference between them.

He spent his days on the limbs. He could see forever. His tree was so tall, it was as if he lived in the clouds, that he was a cloud man as much as a tree dweller. Birds would pass, sometimes very big ones. Though he was unschooled, he noted their grace.

He grew lonely. He would pick at the bark and look down, wondering what was below the canopy, where his father had gone, then his mother, where his mother had come from. He knew one day he too would fall. Then he would know.

A condor passed, headed toward distant mountains.

The tree dweller wished for such wonderful wings.

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