Too Cold

It began with seeds, floating on the wind, landing between the grasses. The weather changed, grew warmer, grew wetter — the seeds caught in the earth and sprang up, first a few, then many, until the ground was dappled in the summer and in the winter the steel grey of a cloudy sky could only peek between the clutter of bare branches.

Animals visited and lived, moved in moved on, their lives momentary, ephemeral. They flourished, they died, they brought seeds and life and sound and disaster and decay; they were the daily routine, the things that quickly passed, that stood out amongst the trees, the landscape. Termites burrowed into the oldest tree in the heart of the wood; a fire killed off all the underbrush and saplings. Deer came for a season, wolves for two.

Trees were cut, for space, for land, for wood, for warmth. First slow, then not so slow. Grassland and pasture and herds encroached. A road marched between and through, and then few trees remained.

The weather changed, grew warmer, grew colder. The last planes flew overhead. The herds died; the road cracked, broke apart. A shoot appeared. The saplings returned.

And when the road was gone the weather grew colder, grew drier.

3 thoughts on “Too Cold”

  1. This is a story told over a long period of time from the PoV of the trees as life, humanity and climate change around them, incidentally including a brief appearance of humanity.

    I enjoyed the idea and the way you got the sense of timelessness (odd how that photo inspired both of us towards eternity). Enjoyed the very non-human point of view – no judgement or opinion just the facts on what happened.

    On the other hand the absence of character and narrative makes it a bit dull for me. Interesting but not intriguing.

    Like the short sentence structure at the beginning a lot – really gives the open timeless feel you wanted.

  2. Agree with ES summary – this is how I read it too. A lovely, detached vibe with no real protagonist other than nature.

    I thought the sentence with the steel grey was a little too convoluted to work, and would have put a comma between moving in, moving on. The central paragraph overexplains the animals a bit too much for me: the bit about them being the daily routine is unnecessary to me, it’s already there. The sentence about the animals standing out ongdt the trees was opposing the vibe of the story for me – the animals are ephemeral, it’s the trees hat stand out.

    But I loved the calmness and dignity of the story. Thanks!

  3. I really enjoyed this, with its gentle description of time passing (parfles’ use of dignity in the context really worked for me). I saw it more as about a stretch of land than as about the life of the trees, although on second reading I do see the focus on trees growing.

    The long and short sentence structures, and the juxtaposition of passive and active voice really worked for me in setting the mood.

    I didn’t find it dull – I thought it was lovely and gentle. I would expect, if this were a longer piece, for this bit to be the denouement or introduction to a piece, but for this length it worked beautifully as a stand alone.

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