THE TALE OF TWO TREES
Once upon a time, there were two trees. They shared the earth and spread their roots into the dark, rich earth. Each spring filled their branches with green foliage. With the coming of summer, the trees would display bountiful bunches of beautiful yellow flowers. These flowers would remain until the fall when they would produce many clouds of seeds and a friendly breeze would spread these seeds throughout the region.
The years passed. One of the trees grew tall and continued to produce fine-looking leaves, beautiful flowers and bountiful seed. The second tree did not grow as tall but also continued to display fine-looking leaves and beautiful yellow blossoms.
More years passed. The shorter tree struggled to match the taller tree but caught only fleeting moments in the sunshine when breezes moved the branches of the taller tree and allowed rays to pass through its branches. Even so, the shorter tree continued to produce foliage and flowers albeit the size, number, and quality diminished with each passing year. It twisted its trunk and grew uneven branches in an attempt to reach the joys of the sun but it remained in the shadow of the taller, larger tree.
In time, the smaller tree produced only meager foliage and its blossoms were small and pale. Some years the blossoms displayed petals of pink instead of yellow. As more years passed, the smaller tree grew only foliage and these leaves were sparse in numbers, uneven in shape and no more than a pale green in color, hanging lethargically from the twisted misshapen branches.
The two trees continued to share the rich, dark earth, entwining their roots and sharing the waters of the soil. Since the smaller tree needed less food and water, its roots had no need to grow as large or to extend to the farther reaches of the earth.
The years passed. Storms ravaged the region. Winds took their toll. Trees succumbed.
One spring, the smaller, sheltered tree no longer stood in a shadow. It no longer was reduced to fleeting glimpses of the generous rays of the sun. The smaller tree had no need to share the riches of the earth and the moisture from the rains.
The years passed. However, regardless of its need to no longer share its resources, the smaller tree continued to be small, to produce sparse foliage. It produced no blossoms and no seeds.
I was motivated to write this mini-story after watching two little girls who were sisters. One sister was quite assertive, a trait that, no doubt, stood her in good stead as an adult. However, the shy, smaller girl would show a flair at something only to be outdone by her sister. The actions of her sister didn't seem to be on purpose, just a different personality. Watching them, I wondered how different that little girl would be as an adult if she were developing in a different setting. I vascillated on the ending and then decided that Cinderellas don't always become princesses...