Thomas Doty – Storyteller

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The Woman Loved Trees

There was a woman who loved trees. When she was a girl she spent days playing in the forest. At night she dreamed she was a Tree Person living deep in the woods. Her neighbors were Cedar and Pine, Fir and Madrone. They knew her well. Together they danced all night to the rhythm of the wind. Their tall shadows shifted and speckled the floor of the forest. All night. Every night. With her friends.

So it made sense to her, when she was grown, that she married one who understood her deeply. One who listened to words the Tree People shared. One who found and set free the stories that lived beneath their bark. This made sense to her. So she married a woodcarver.

They were happy. For a time. While love was a blessing, it was also a distraction. Neither heard the first faint rustlings in the woods. Or sighs in the shadows of their dreams that whispered how short her life would be. When she grew ill, her husband sent for skilled doctors. But no one could help her. On the day she began her journey to the west, the Tree People shed tears to see her go and showered the morning with dew.

Her husband walked in the woods. He wept in the woods. In every tree he saw something that reminded him of his wife. He walked and wept for days.

One morning, he gazed past his tears and ambled into the heart of the forest. He sat down. He listened. He quietly looked around. That tree was tall like his wife. This one had long, dark limbs. That one swayed a certain way in the breeze. He thought he heard her soft voice.

No one tree had all of her features. The woods were a puzzle with the pieces scattered. He wanted to find a way to fit them together. A way to share her story and release his grief. "A carving," he thought. "That's her! That's me!" He stood with purpose, and he walked through the woods toward his home.