I plodded into the forest with a tape measure. The age of a tree couldn’t be divined without coring, but I don’t have that equipment. Size will have to suffice.
Grandma once told me that the forests hold memories and grudges. She taught me how to ask forgiveness from the apple tree in the backyard, to seek the oldest tree for the absolution from a grove.
I decorated what limbs I could with prayer tags. “Please, don’t leave. Please grow again.”
It didn’t work, but maybe that wasn’t the oldest. A lot of trees had a five inch diameter.
This was written for the May 16th Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge. Inspired by Japanese kodama and buddhist prayer tags, I wrote a story about what I imagine to be a girl in rural China who lives near the last existing forest. Yaaay, global warming…