Fridays For Future, Climate Strike Online, StoryADayMay

This post is part of StoryADay May ( #StoryADay #StoryADayMay @storyadaymay #freeshortstory #FridaysForFuture #Climate Strike Online

Forever Home

The first he knew he was alive was when his acorn shell cracked and he felt his first root hair drawing moisture and nutrients from the rich soil. Hardly consciousness at all, really. Then he sent out a sprout that, mirroring the root, pushed in the opposite direction. The sprout, though, didn’t eagerly soak up what the soil had to offer, but struggled through it as if through a nightmare. Suddenly, between one invisible thrum of life and the next, the sprout shouldered out of the soil and felt – Freedom! Light! Air!

A vibration through the air translated, in his diffuse nervous system, as “Norbert’s out! Hey, Norbert! How ya doin’, buddy?”

A giant … thing, vaguely tree-like, but with roots unconnected to the earth, colorful bark, and limbs that moved about in defiance of wind currents, leaned over him.

Another giant thing (Norbert came to know them as people) leaned over the shoulder of the first.

“Don’t tell me you’re going to name them all! You know how many hundreds of thousands we’ve already planted? You know how many we’re going to have to plant? Forty-three million! And that’s just Minnesooota, eh?”

“No, I’m not gonna name them all. Just this one. Just because.”

When the giants moved on, “Norbert” became aware of other seedlings around him. Instinctively, he sent roots out to touch their roots and begin community, but he was thwarted by a barrier around his allotment of soil. He quivered in distress, and received faint reassurance from other, older seedlings. They were prisoners, yes, but their jailers weren’t heartless. The people gave them nutritious food and pure water, darkness and light, and spoke encouragingly to them. It wasn’t freedom, and it wasn’t community, exactly, but it wasn’t hellish.

Norbert came to know one people from another, even though they changed the colors of their bark from one sighting to another. Gradually, he could tell one from another by small variations in the smooth bark that never changed on each one.

Then came the day that he and his fellow seedlings were moved from their prison, though not from their cells. What had seemed to be the edges of the world peeled back and the ground moved. As the moving ground brought him nearer to the open edge, Norbert saw something he instantly knew and named: the sky! And there was the sunlight! Fresh air! The wonder and richness of it all was so intense, he nearly swooned.

All too soon, he and a large square of his closest fellow prisoners were shoved into another, much smaller prison. Others joined them and then the world closed again and rumbled and bounced up and down and pulled them gently to one side, then another.

When the world opened again, they were pulled out into paradise.

All around them were miles and miles of trees and other living things rooted in the earth. Not just soil. The earth. They were moved from the small prison to tables amidst the wonder. Wonder, indeed! There were what he recognized as trees on every side – trees so huge, they made people look like seedlings.

Then the nightmare began.

One by one, Norbert saw his fellows extracted from their cells, roots exposed, and carried out of his line of sight. He heard them crying in distress. The people didn’t hear it – he had noticed that they heard nothing except themselves and each other.

As more were taken than were left, he became aware of other sounds from the large trees. “Welcome! Welcome! Don’t be afraid, little ones! You’re home. You’re home, now.”

When it was Norbert’s turn to be extracted, he forced himself to listen to the big trees and to be brave. The people one who held him placed him gently onto some green stuff (“Moss,” it whispered to him) while it dug a hole. (“Ha!” sneered the roots the people’s tool severed. “Deer are worse!”) The people lifted Norbert and placed him gently into the hole and tucked soil around him. No, not soil: EARTH.

“You’ll do well here,” the big trees told all the seedlings. “It’s much warmer here than it used to be. Some of us can’t tolerate it. We’ve lost so many kin.”

The seedlings mourned with them a while.

Then the big trees told them a story:

“The trees you came from live in another place where it’s warmer. It’s too warm for many of them there, just as it’s too warm for many of us here. So the people rescued you and brought you here, where it’s as warm as your parent trees like. Your grand-acorns or great-grand acorns or great-great-grand acorns would have migrated here eventually, but who knows if it would have been good for them or if it would have been to warm for them here by then?”

“What makes it warmer so fast?” Norbert asked.

“We don’t know,” said the tree community. “But, whatever is killing us, we thank the people for rescuing us. We’re lucky to live on a planet with such life forms on it.”

The whole community rustled its leaves in agreement, gratitude, and joy.

MY PROMPT FOR TODAY: As temperatures rise, ‘climate smart’ trees sprout in Minnesota


I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Fridays For Future, Climate Strike Online, StoryADayMay

  1. acflory

    May 4, 2024 at 5:28pm

    Wow…this story actually brought a lump to my throat. If only all humans were as caring as the ‘people’ in your story!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 5, 2024 at 9:49am

      True story. I mean, Norbert didn’t dictate it to me, but people are actually doing this.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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