It’s cramped. My feet ache, trying to push free from the covering closing me in. I don’t know how long I’ve been caged, but I feel soon I will escape. Above me, I feel warmth, below me, moisture. For days I have been straining, desperate to break free. With one last effort, I shove once more. This time I am rewarded. My covering snaps and my feet dig into the rich soil. My arms are against the walls. I strain against the sides of my prison, and they soon fall away and my head shoots above the surface.
The sunlight shines down on me, granting me strength with its life giving rays. I look for the first time at the world that is mine. Surrounding me are giants, soaring into the air, so tall it seems their heads touch the clouds. One of them is my mother, but I have no way of knowing which it might be. Closer to me are my brothers and sisters. I spread my arms wide, wanting to gather all the warmth of the sun. I feel myself getting stronger as my feet soak up the water from the earth.
The time comes when the sun dips below the horizon, and I am sad to see it go. Then my sadness turns to wonder as I gaze at the heavens. When the sun goes, the stars arrive. The sky is a canvas, painted with the glory of creation. The occasional cloud drifts through the sky, floating on currents of air, going where they please. Underneath the cloud the sky is filled with the flow of life. Insects dart here and there, like the clouds, traveling paths only they understand. Behind them are the night birds and the bats, scooping down to feast on the insects too slow to evade their pursuit.
It is not long before the darkness of night melts away as the sun awakens the day once again. The screech of the owl and the flapping of the bat are replaced with the scampering of the squirrel and the song of the sparrow. They run and dance on the arms of my family, singing their songs of joy for life.
For days the rhythm of life follows the pattern of light and dark, each sphere with its own mysteries and amazements. Then one morning when the sun should claim its command of the sky once more, it does not appear. The heavens brighten and the stars flee, but I cannot feel the sun’s warming rays. The blue of the sky has been stolen by the clouds. They are thick and heavy and the sky grows darker instead of lighter. For the first time I fear. If the sun is gone, soon I will be gone also.
Then a spark flashes in the clouds. For a brief instant, the earth is as bright as the noonday. Seconds later the small grains of soil next to me bounce as a great boom shakes the ground. The cycle of light and sound grow faster and stronger. The flashes become so close together the times of darkness almost disappear.
The running creatures flee to their burrows and into nests made in my families arms. The birds quickly follow. The last one finds shelter only an instant before the first drop of water slams into the ground. The fury of the rain is joined by the roar of the wind. Both increase as the storm grows stronger. Soon I am unable to stand as the wind bends me over. My head touches the ground and my arms are pinned to the earth. A torrent of water flows around and over me. I feel my feet letting go of the earth. Soon I will be unable to keep my grip and I will be washed away with the leaves, racing down the river that has formed next to me.
Only a minute before my feet are pulled from the ground, there is an immense crash as one of my family is unable to resist the wind any longer. There is a sound as strong as the thunder as her body slams onto the earth. The ground next to me bounces from the impact. The water is thrown back at the clouds with her falling.
Her death brings me life. Her body shields me from the wind and water. The rage of the storm soon weakens and the clouds race away, surrendering the sky to the sun once again. With the wind no longer holding me to the ground, I stand and look around at the changed world. There are others of my family that perished in the storm. I see one more tossed to the ground by the hurricane winds. A short distance behind me one of my cousins has been split in half by a sky spark that touched him. I will miss their majestic form, standing tall.
I have seen the moon grow large and then shrink a number of times since I first looked to the sky. The days are growing shorter and the nights are cooler. I am starting to feel tired. The green that has covered my family is changing to red, yellow and a myriad of other shades. The forest has become a blaze of color, in its own way as grand as the green of spring. The time comes when I can stay awake no longer. I, like the rest of my family, stand naked in the cold air.
I do not know how long I have slept, but now I am awake. To the distant valley below me to the tall mountain in the distance, the world is green again. There are flashes of red and blue as the cardinal and the blue jay build their nests. The song of life fills the air with its sweet music.
The cycle of wakefulness and sleep has repeated many times. I now stand tall, next to my cousins that once soared over me. I am the home to families. There are squirrels that run along my arms, raising their young. My hands hold the nests of many birds, their cries of joy a statement to the beauty of life. At my feet, there is a new generation of young, raising their heads into the air for the first time. Some of them are my sons and daughters, but it does not matter which are mine and which are those of my sisters, I love them all. The wind is gentle as it blows through my arms. It allows me to sing. I sing the story of my family. My song is answered, and soon the forest is a concert, the music, a testimony of God.