5.1 – Cutting
The first shoot pierced through the snow.
Green leaves. Blue veins.
She had made a makeshift hut out of twigs, bark and mud up in the branches of the tree.
The grey giant seemed to comply with her construction in soft and subtle ways.
Her wood tails (as she had grown to call them) would circle around the trunk when she slept.
In a tight embrace.
The plant had a head start on everything else, having already grown to the height of her hips when the rest of the world started bursting alive.
Three main stems like a three fingered hand. Leaves aplenty.
A flower appeared on the centre stem.
Bright, yellow anthers.
She would sit in stillness before it, just breathing in its scent.
Bees came in droves and drank their fill.
As tall as her now. And strangely shaped.
Stems interlocking with stems.
Leaves in obscure patterns.
It moved sometimes when she walked past, as if aware of her presence.
A forest doe came by to grab a bite.
She chased it off.
The plant was grateful.
She could feel it.
In the way her wood tails trembled in response.
Like a sense she did not know she had.
The leaves fell.
And in its naked form, the hardened stems, now thick with bark, braided together, looked uncannily human.
In a vague way, like a toy a child makes out of sticks.
She woke up one night smelling fire, and her body panicked in response.
She ran towards the source of smoke, and found a huge bonfire.
People from the settlement.
Burning fallen leaves. The firewalk of the trees.
A couple of the men carried something heavy on their shoulders.
A figure made from wood.
They offered it to the red and gold devouring mouth.
A child’s open face, illuminated by the flames, was known to her.
Their eyes met for a fragment of a moment.
Then she let the shadows reclaim her.
The moon was bright and full.
On a branch outside the tree hut.
Her tails snaked around the trunk.
Body dressed in bark and hanging moss.
More for protection than for warmth.
A lone wolf howl.
A fluttering of wings.
Footsteps crunching in the snow.
Her tails trembled with anticipation.
She looked down.
The plant had moved. Uprooted.
In the full glare of the moon what looked like a head observed what looked like hands. Flowers erupted from holes that looked like eyes, their scent directed at her. She sniffed and the luscious smell transformed to meaning in her mind.
[totality of being seen from one singular perspective]
She detached herself from the tree and jumped down, swinging gently from branch to branch by use of her tails.
Landing before the flower-eyed plant creature, she said:
„Do you understand my words as I understand your scent?“
The flowers seemed to breathe. She smelled the answer.
[sense of roots exchanging nutrients in an interlocked embrace]
„Because we are connected. But not others of my kind? Their speech, I mean?“
[a smell directed at the very center of her chest]
„Only if they speak from their…Deepheart“.
She looked at her…what should she call it?
„Are you…my child?“
[The mirth of a thousand flowers erupting in spring]
„Too human a term? What, then?“
[A forest of fuzzy, swirling interchangable currents without a centre suddenly concentrated in just one specific spot]
„You are the….spirit of this tree and others like it?“
[A smell that opens her chest in a way that she interprets as Yes]
„But you wanted to experience the world as I do. As an individual instead of…a collective“
„So…wait…you separated yourself like we would make a cutting of a plant, but you did a cutting of your very essence“.
„And I was…the knife“.
The being began to test its legs and started to walk, then skip, then run around the tree, faster and faster. An overwhelming sense of joy was carried on the wind. Brittle laughed, something she had not done forever.
„What should I call you?!“ she shouted.
[An open-ended aroma that seemed to state a query, a non-understanding]
„You are an individual. So you need a name“.
[the totality of being seen from a singular perspective]
„I can’t call you that. That just describes being alive as a person“.
[a scent that reminded her curiously of her own]
„You want me to name you? Well, what about Branch or Break or…no, those are not your names“.
„You are unique. Even for a person. You are not of Bray. Or of anyone. You are of yourself and should be named differently than me and my kin, my old kin. I name you…well, how about simply…Cutting?“
[query, wonderment, approval]
„Well, there it is. Welcome to the world, Cutting!!“
Cutting ran over to her and embraced her. Her wood tails spiraled around the both of them.
Snow fell on their conjoined form.