I walked in the woods, alone, tired, hungry and scared with storms continuing to brew overhead when I see the most amazing tree ever I have seen. It was a tall and strong, majestic and inviting tree, offering protection, beauty and comfort. Adding to the enticement was a collection of fruit waiting to be picked.
The closer I walked to the tree, the more I could see through the outer collage of beautiful green leaves, was an interior of disease. A mired collection of dead branches, barren patches, twisted limbs and a rotting core. But for now, in my desperation, I ignored what I saw and fell to its beauty, nourishment and enjoyed the protection from the harsh elements, still captivated by the images of the outside that I could see.
It did not take long for the tree to show its inner demons and begin to drop countless broken branches all around, many without warning, some started by small breezes and some with no apparent reason at all. Often I could see or hear the branches falling but some would strike me leaving cuts and scratches of various sizes. Rarely would one wound heal, before another branch would fall to create a new scratch where the last one had struck. Sometimes the winds would howl and entire limbs would fall. While some would miss, some would hit me causing severe pain and damage, but each time I would once again stand up and tell myself to be more careful of the falling branches. All the while, still captivated on some level by this tremendous tree of protection, I would clean up the debris and refused to leave this world I have come to know so well.
It bore fruit on occasion when the sun was out and the winds were calm, which was almost always after a storm had cleared away much of the inner deadfall. I began to notice that I could be immediately feed after the tree shed a bunch of its inner ugliness. In desperate need for nourishment, I began to lift fallen branches and push them up in the heart of the tree to shake and pry out more of the diseased limbs, often being pummeled and further injured by more falling debris.
Leaving the tree seems so easy, yet so incredibly difficult. I began to grow accustom to the endless cycle of injury, destruction and chaos followed by short but wonderful periods of warmth and fruit constantly finding it more and more difficult to remember what life is like outside the world of the tree.
As time wore on, my body now riddled with cuts, bruises and scars, my spirit lost to other lands and places, I realized I could not live with the tree or without the tree. Pain, despair and hopelessness gave way to pure irrationality and I began to devise a plan for an exit.
With a good long rope, I climbed up the tree, tied it off and wrapped it around my neck, no longer aware of my actions, fears or options… and jumped. The rope broke and down I feel to the ground as a crumpled, distraught, broken man full of injuries both inside and out. As I lay on the ground, barely able to move, I realized I was just slightly out of the normal path of where branches fell inside the tree. I crawled a few feet, now feeling less and less of the effects of the volatile and dangerous world of living directly under the tree. The more I rested, the less I was pummeled, the more strength I gained and the farther I could crawl away from the tree.
Eventually, I gained enough strength to get just outside the reaches of the tree and stand once again. And once again, I could see the outer beauty, occasional enticing fruit, but now I could also see its inner disease with clarity. My injuries will heal over time now that I have filed for divorce from my alcoholic wife, the tree.