In a forest covered with Evergreens.
Is a place called The Labyrinth of Trees.
It is a beautiful place, with enormous conifers towering over the dirt path like a canopy.
But no one has seen it but I.
I was a young boy at the time, shy and insecure. I also was cursed with a stutter, which made me a target of hectoring.
I always brushed it off, believing there was nothing I could do.
One particular incident sent me running for the hills, tears streaming down my face.
That led me straight into The Labyrinth of Trees.
I sat down under a tree and sulked.
“W-why-do-th-they-bul-ly-me-s-so?” I said solemnly.
“Because you are vulnerable,” said a deep voice.
I stood up.
“Who-s-said-that?” I shouted.
“It was me” answered the voice.
“B-but-w-where-are-y-you?” I asked impatiently.
“Look up” said the voice.
I looked up, and saw nothing at first.
I waited, craning my neck upward. Trying to find the source of the sound, but then I saw a large vine covered mouth grinning down at me. It was the tree who had spoken.
The tree had immense, round eyes. Dark green, like moss.
He greeted me with a friendly smile.
“Hello, who are you?” he croaked.
“M-my-n-name-is-ad-Adam.” I responded meekly “b-but-who are-y-you-m-ay-I-ask?”
The tree spoke warmly to me as if I was its kin.
“I am Timber, ruler of The Labyrinth of Trees.
“The-r-ruler-of-w-what?” I stammered.
“The Labyrinth of Trees” replied Timber.
I was stunned. In our village we were taught that humans were the most powerful and wise beings on earth. Now here was this magnificent tree, who seemed to possess wisdom beyond the human mind.
“How-d-did-this-p-place-c-come-to-b-be?” I asked.
I was yearning for some kind of explanation.
“Well my boy,” said Timber “it all started at the beginning of time…the trees were in great danger.
All the humans big and small, were chopping us down to build their shelters.
So the trees held a meeting to discuss what they were going to do about it.
They decided to isolate themselves from the world.” Timber ended his story with a dramatic wave of his hand.
“W-wow!” I said, aghast.
“Wow is right my boy.” said Timber sadly.
Then he leaned closer and whispered, “Just between you and me, sometimes I wish for just a glimpse of the world. But don’t tell anyone.”
“I-sw-swear-I-w-won’t-t-tell-a-s-soul.” I responded. “I-p-promise.”
“Would you like to go on a stroll?” asked Timber.
“Sh-sure” said I.
Then Timber lifted himself out of the earth and stood beside me.
We walked calmly through the murky, yet winsome labyrinth in silence, taking in the beautiful scenery.
“T-Timber,” I stammered.
“I-w-was-just-w-wondering what-y-you-th-thought of-m-my-st-stutter?” I asked curiously.
“I think it’s lovely my boy,” replied Timber enthusiastically, “but the real question is ‘What do you think about it?’”
I thought for a while about his question, then I answered.
“It’s a huge-b-burden.” I sighed. “I-g-get-b-bullied-q-quite a-b-bit.”
“Adam, I was like you once, small, and feeble.
“H-how-w-were-y-you ever-l-like me?” I asked, stunned.
“You’re-s-so-m-mag-magnificent!” Timber smiled.
“I wasn’t always like this,” he continued. “I used to be a seed, at the mercy of the wind, easily squashed. But once I made it to earth, I grew into a gigantic and powerful tree.”
I stared at him in wonder.
“Is-th-that all?” I asked.
“Wait my boy, there’s one more thing,” said Timber. “Always look to the sun.”
“Are you ready to go home my boy?” he asked.
“Yes-t-Timber,” I answered.
We walked back to the entrance of the labyrinth.
“Goodbye, Adam” said Timber solemnly.
“G-goodbye-t-Timber” I replied.
We embraced, and I left The Labyrinth of Trees.
Then, I was eleven years old, now I am eighty-nine, and Timber’s words are still echoing in my ears.
“Always look to the sun.”