Trees are among the most silent beings, after stones. Birds rustle their leaves and occasionally we hear the cracking sound of growing bark, but that’s really it. Though when I was six or seven I used to talk with trees, and I mean more than hearing the oceanic whispers from seashells, but words understood in reciprocal clarity. Pulling off my shoes and socks feeling the damp ground, I would lay down settling at the point the grass struggles to grow and the sunlight stretches to reach. Pressing my ear to the base of the tree their ancient voices would emerge through the moist ground up from their roots telling me everything about their lives. I felt like a child of the wilderness laying in a sacred grove.

In the centre of the park where I spent most of that summer was the one tree that I would talk with more than any other. He stood tall reaching into the roof of the sky, his broad shadow stretching over to the wilderness of weed. His roots were vast and smooth; I would touch them furtively as the blind whilst thinking of the others who laid under this tree murmuring their secrets into the earth. He would tell me about the birds and answer my many questions about them, how things were when he was a seedling and the changes that he thought would come soon enough, none of which I could ever really understand. Confused, I would come away from these long talks thinking how sad and beautiful things can be.

Lying deep in the summer grass I would draw in each word the trees had to share with me, staring upwards through limbs and fingers to the wide sky. Their words would wrap around me and I felt l might dissolve into the ground with the twisting worms and roots. When spiders lightly crawled across my bare skin I would imagine being spun up in their web, cocoon like I would patiently wait to metamorphose or be devoured. In the evening the crows above would grow louder with their mindless squawking, I asked the trees what they were doing, they simply replied “The crows are talking to the moon’’.

And I spent most days in the same way, going from tree to tree telling them everything. About Chris from school who killed a frog, my dreams and burning nightmares, about all the things that were important then. Sometimes my sister would come and listen with me but she’d get distracted by chasing anxious birds and searching for shapes in white clouds. Mum would always sit at the edges of the park, she couldn’t hear the trees. I would take the lunches she made and lay down to eat with the tree’s words.

As soon as winter came I found it difficult to hear them, I’d lie on the hard ground, their familiar voices were muffled and the few words I managed to make out were just whispers that made no sense. On my eighth birthday I couldn’t hear them at all and their voices were replaced by the louder ones around me. Weeks on end I tried to listen out for their voices but whatever force had brought us together had now separated us in the same way. I’d wonder if they were telling somebody else their secrets as I stood watching the crows still calling irritably at the moon.

Occasionally I press my ear to the trees, but all I can hear are the indecipherable ramblings from the wind.

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