Light & Shadows of Chalandor Book of Shadows
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Title: The Miracle of the Forgotten Pines
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Autumn_Heather
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From: USA
Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:02/19/2009 06:21 AM)
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The Miracle of the Forgotten Pines

They stood out in stark contrast to the vital wooded area that surrounded them, two twisted and gnarled remnants of what were once tall and beautiful Norwegian Pines.  Two trees that had grown up side by side now rose barren and weather worn toward the bleak December sky like bony fingers forming a great dead “V” against the living forest around it.  No one living, except, perhaps, the Trolls and other ancients, knew when the trees had perished in a wondrous storm that had once upon a time flashed through this quiet isolated area of Norway’s vast forested lands.   Seedlings at that era now scraped the sky and the few remaining ‘Elder’ Trees could recall the two seedlings that had grown up less than a meter apart.  Their intertwined branches had served to support each other through weather and trauma so that except for an unnatural bend in the tree on the right (while looking at them toward the South) that chinked over about a half meter than back up toward the sky, the trees grew straight and true.   The left tree was thinner and sparser than its brother but the combination of the two with their contrasting greens, yellows and browns formed a handsome and memorable site for the beings that passed along the simple animal path a few meters North of them.  The twin trees provided rich cones and solid branches for the creatures of the area.  Nests, from time to time, adorned their boughs and during the winter the frosty snow and ice decorated them in a sparkling raiment of crystals and light.  So favored were this pair of trees that even the Aurora’s of the skies left their colors on their sturdy forms.

The bolt that struck without warning that stormy night sheered exactly between the two trees sundering the branches that held them close.  So great was the power that trunk and limb exploded as both trees died in an instant.  The surging electricity fused sap and vaporized vital liquids as it sought the refuge of the ground below.   In an flash all had vanished but a few meters of each tree that stood smoldering against the remaining forest.  The blasts impact vibrated the trees deep into their roots loosening soil and rock and pushing the trees apart until both seemed to lean in desperation from the blast.  In mere micro seconds only two butchered and charred trunks remained looking like a great bleak ‘V’ driven into the ground point first.  

Time and weather completed the final shaping and devastation of the trees wearing away the remaining branch stubs and most of the bark.  Even the most of the charred surface wore away in the face of the ever changing seasons.  Around them the grasses and flowers sprouted, lived and died as the cycle of life continued its constantly evolving spiral.  Surprisingly, however,  no trees sprang up to replace the decimated pines.

For a while animals and other creatures viewed the site as a monument to the power of the gods and nature.  Even Trolls came to pay homage to what once was but gradually over the decades the visitors thinned until only a warren of hares lived beneath the tree and an old owl could be found perched on the highest thin arm of the left trunk.  The monument became a forgotten remnant of the past suitable now for chopping into perhaps several ‘perfect’ Yule logs.

The forest creatures were only slightly startled at the deep sound of crunching snow that echoed through the air that icy Yule’s eve.  Whatever was approaching made no effort to conceal its advance and to the relief of all the smells and lack of other noises declared that it was not human so after some natural concerns the animals returned to the evening’s pursuits.             

 Here, like around the world, the children of all beings were at rest while parents scrambled to welcome in the solstice that marked the traditional turning of Nature’s tide to life and light.  Most, in their celebrations, would recall a child who tradition says was born this night centuries before.   In the animal kingdom even the most voracious of predators refrained from unnecessary violence during this short respite and for a moment there was truly peace on earth. 

The ‘word’ spread quickly that a lone Troll accompanied by a medium sized Fox were moving toward the two old trees.  The unusual fact that anyone was out on this of all nights brought the inquisitive out to peak while others watched from perch and burrow as the two passed them by.  A few hardier critters followed their natural curiosity and trailed after the pair eager to see what was in the bundle the old Troll was carrying.  Even a few older ‘children’, aroused by their parent’s initial distress, worked up the nerve to pursue these mysterious visitors.

The Old Troll did indeed walk directly to the site where the two barren trunks glistened in the sporadic moonlight that managed to break through the clouds which foretold the immanent arrival of a large winter storm.  

“Hello Old Ones.” he said with a stiff bow toward the cold dead trunks.  “I have brought you a gift.”

A ‘chatter’ of surprise rippled through the animals as they gathered in a circle around the ‘forgotten’ trees.  Beneath them the family of hares spilled out as they became aware of the unique circumstances growing around them.   Everyone wondered what kind of ‘gift’ a Troll would bring to a pair of dead trees.

The Troll looked up from his bundle and for the first time seemed to notice the congregation of animals that now surrounded him.  His gentle chuckle startled some of the younger creatures who had never heard a Troll laugh.

“You could have warned me.” he said looking down at the fox.

The Fox simply grinned and stuck his tongue out briefly touching the tip of his white snout before pulling it back quickly. 

The Troll shook his head and began to unwrap the bundle.  “I suppose you are all curious.” he said softening his voice conspiratorially.  “It is a gift to these old trees.  They have been forgotten and it is my hope that this will bring them a little peace and restore some of their honor.”

Inside the bundle was a meter long large chunk of rough, splinter laden wood.

A ripple of disappointment rumbled through the critters great and small that now were watching each move intently.

Hiding a smile, the Troll picked up the wood and turned it to face the ‘audience’.  At first the surface seemed to be coated with red and white colors that blended together in a blur but as the motion stopped the paint focused into a fully bearded face that looked out at the animals.  The head  was surrounded by a fluffy white beard and full curls of long white hair that might have been the bottom of a red pointed cap that extended to the slightly pointed top of the chunk of wood.  The nose was two simple lines painted in a wedge shape while the eyes were simple black dots that somehow seemed to look out at the lookers.  At the bottom to the left of the beard a circle of red and yellow circles with some green dots thrown in.

“It’s a Nissan.” said the Troll with a sheepish grin.  “And that is a flower.”

The animals nodded their understanding and as they looked it became clearer what the picture was.  It seemed that the painting almost had a magical quality that began to bring feelings of recognition and trust to the animals.  The watched silently as the Troll used a length of homespun rugged rope to tie the picture bedecked wood between the two trunks so the face looked toward the North.   No one wondered how the Troll somehow reached up and tied the art piece on a branch a meter higher than he could reach. 

As he stepped back a gentle gust set the artwork in motion letting it swing gently between the tree trunks.  As it swung lazily in place a moonbeam seemed to break through the clouds and the face lit up like magic.  The animals woofed, hooted, squeaked and growled in appreciation of the unusual sight.  Even the Troll and the Fox took a step or two back to get a better view. 

The noise gradually subsided as the snow began to drift down in sparkling wisps that fell in lazy spirals toward the ground.  Somehow a small hole remained in the clouds allowing the moon’s light to illuminate the trunks and the picture that hung between.

“Cones.” said an old hare softly.  “Get cones!”

Several of the smaller hares seemed to scatter into the forest.  In minutes they began to return carrying or dragging a variety of pine cones dropped by nearby trees. 

The Troll smiled and from his pocket pulled a half meter remnant of the old rope he had used to hang the painting.  With a deftness that belied his appearance he untwined the piece to create over a score of strands with which he tied a selection of the best pine cones to the tree using various cracks and stubs that remained on the twisted form. 

The other animals grasped the idea and several of them scattered to their hidden warrens, holes, nests and caches.  An almost palpable excitement began to permeate the air as one by one someone returned with a ‘cherished’ treasure they wanted to place on the trees.     

An old badger appeared half carrying half dragging an old black metal lantern the glass surprisingly intact.  A black bear brought a second lantern whose filigree of thick coppery vines also held an unbroken glass shell as well.  These were hung from the rope on either side of the artwork.  Again no one wondered how the meter and a half tall Troll reached the rope that hung over two and a half meters above the ground.   

A hawk flew up with a long piece of golden ribbon in his beak.  With almost miraculous accuracy the ribbon swirled down and catching on the top wrapped itself down the trunk of the right tree.   A bright green length of yarn brought by a family of racoons was quickly wrapped around the other trunk to the delight of all.

As the Troll backed up after putting up the yarn three squirrels ran up their cheeks puffed full.  When they arrived at the Troll’s feet the disgorged a handful of smooth shiny rocks that seemed to glisten even in the dim light.  With a smile the old Troll directed the squirrels to place the stones along the dried cracks and small edges up and down the trunks.

The furry little critters seemed to come alive as they scampered around the ancient wood experiencing a joy brought on by the giving and sharing of their treasures.

As the squirrels, joined by a pair of chipmunks, finished the trees began to glisten a little brighter in the midst of the snow crystals which also caught the limited yet phantasmal light that seemed to gravitate toward the trunks. 

The Troll once again stepped back giving everyone a chance to view the decorated trunks and soon an almost perfect circle of animals surrounded the Yuletide bedecked trees.  For several minutes the only sound was the gentle breathing of a scores of animals encircling the ancient landmark.  The silent falling snow glistened and sparkled reflecting in the eyes of the watchers as many, for the first time, beheld the majesty these great trees once had.   Even the predators were still as they lay beside their usual quarry.

Smiling at the animalistic veneration of the great trees the old Troll looked skyward and made a simple sweeping motion with his long arms turning in a slow circle as he did.  To the great surprise of all but a few the clouds parted revealing a starry sky painted by the wondrous lights of the North.  Streaks of blue, green and red rolled and flowed across the magical opening in the clouds.  In their own ways each animal oood and awed at the natural pyrotechnics that played above them.   Even the Fox barked and yipped joyously at the production his companion and friend had created.  

Few, other than the Fox, noticed the Troll wave his hand once again only this time the sweeping motion drew downward toward the trees.   From some angles it appeared that the colors or the aurora followed the motion like  a gentle brush stroke until the colors touched then flowed over the trees  into the chunks of crystal that peppered the noble  remnants.   As the crystals absorbed the light they began to shine like hundreds of miniature candles. 

The animals were taken aback by the spectacular miracle as the trees aura expanded until the light encompassed the throng.  Above them the hole closed and the snow began to swirl thick and freely around the trees until  the animals could not see anything save the resplendence of the lights reflected within the swirl. 

 Suddenly a collective gasp escaped all but a few voices as it appeared as if the lights were rising higher and higher into the sky.  The aura seemed to increase as did the snow’s swirl until it expanded to the outer edge of the circle of creatures.  Many of the critters were so startled by this rapid change that they instinctively ducked or cowered on the ground.   Only a handful of stalwarts were still watching when the snowy pandemonium abruptly stopped and rose rapidly into the sky to disappear into the clouds.   As their ability to focus engaged they could not believe their eyes for standing before them in all their decorated glory were the two trees just as they had appeared so many years before.  Ribbons, yarns and lights covered the branches as did scores of silver pine cones.  Hanging half way up on two of the intertwined branches was the hand painted picture the Troll had placed between the trunks.

The silence that ensued was broken only by the gentle puff of the snowflakes as they fell to the earth.   The Troll looked over and winked at the Fox who grinned back broadly before turning his full attention to the pair of great pines bedecked in the full glory of the Yule season.

The old Badger suddenly snorted and clicked out the fact that he had to go get his family to see this miracle.  Other animals thought of friends and loved ones they wanted to share this with and within moments the aura of light that shown out from the tree was all but empty.

“Will the ancients stay that way?”  Asked the Fox softly as he moved closer to his friend.

“That depends on how long they remember that sometimes something or someone that is considered ugly or barren can become beautiful and wondrous if groups like this work together as we did this night.” replied the old Troll with a wise grin.

The two stood in silence for several minutes basking in the light of one another’s company.

“You did a good thing here.” said the Fox as the Troll turned to leave.

“I had help from above.” said the Troll looking toward the overcast sky.  “And with that one can never fail.”

For several moments the Fox raised his eyes heavenward his heart and mind bursting with curiosity and gratitude.  Unexpectedly his eyes and ears both shot up as his own understanding became clear.  With a happy bark he hurried off after his friend who was already almost out of sight.  Behind them the trees glowed bright and clear as they welcomed in the beginning of the blessed Yule day.

 

Blessed Yule to all of you!

~ Lady Majyk Whispering-Owl ~

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