Storyteller and Dreamer: The Great Tree

“Hey, Dreamer…Dreamer…Hey, Dreamer?”

“Oh Storyteller, Why did you wake me?  I was in the middle of a wonderful dream.”

“I didn’t wake you. You are still dreaming. Tell me something, in your dream, how old are you?”

“Oh, uh, …I was…uh…younger than I am now.”

“A child?”

“Yes, I think I was… because I was dreaming of my father and he was much younger than the fragile old man he is today.”

“Ok, so I will fill your dreams with a child’s story about the The Great Tree.”

“Oh please don’t start with a “long, long time ago.”

“It is my story, Dreamer. So, uh, well, uh…a long, long time ago….The Great Tree stood tall and straight with many branches. A new branch had grown every time the People of the Angel’s Song had grown a deeper root for their humanity – roots such as prayer, music, generosity, kindness, poetry, art, and music.”

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“Old man, you already said music”

“Oh, One Who Thinks He’s So Smart But Is Not Really So Smart,  How do you like that new name?

“I don’t.”

“Well then don’t interrupt me anymore…and I said music twice on purpose…. because it is so very important. Can you see the Great Tree?”

“Oh yes, it is beautiful and yes, some branches play music, others recite poems, and some have children swinging on the mighty limbs and when the children slip and fall, the other limbs catch the children and softly set them on the ground.”

“That is indeed The Great Tree.  It lives in the center of a large mountain meadow. It was on this tree that Eagle was born in a nest that sat upon the highest branch, a branch which grew for the appreciation of things that can fly.  This was the very first Eagle and The Great Tree  cared for the young Eagle and loved the bird very much.  Eagle would fly back every night to roost in the warmth of The Great Tree’s love.”

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“I didn’t know trees could love?”

“You have much to learn Dreamer and it would happen much quicker if you wouldn’t interrupt me so much…. Do you see Eagle”

“Yes, Eagle soars without flapping its wings.  It looks as if  Eagle is actually dancing with the Wind. Eagle also has something on its back.  It is grey with a bushy tail.”

“That is Eagle’s best friend, Squirrel.”

“But Eagle is majestic and Squirrel is, well, squirrelly.”

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“That is the way it is with our true friends. We love them regardless of their craziness…and yes, Squirrel is a very poor decision maker. Tell me what they are doing right now.”

“They are laughing …really hard…and Squirrel is tickling Eagle under its wings … and Squirrel keeps jumping off of Eagle’s back and falling to the Earth…but Eagle swoops down and saves Squirrel just before he hits the ground..and then Eagle scolds Squirrel, but Squirrel does it again, and again.”

“That is true friendship… The People of the Angel’s Song would journey up to the Great Tree every summer to avoid the heat of the valley floor. Life was grand underneath the love of The Great Tree.”

“Storyteller, I see bright flashes in the sky, …  and, oh my, I see lightening in the distance and the People of the Angel’s Song are all screaming and running out of the meadow and leaving the Great Tree alone. What is happening Storyteller. Is this a nightmare?”

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“Yes, and no. All sweet dreams have  equally terrifying  nightmares and so it is also with the Great Tree. The lightening you see is from the terrible wrath of the Tree of Ignorance.”

“What is that tree?”

“The Tree of Ignorance has also grown very tall as its roots and branches grew from the People of the Angel’s Song’s less admirable traits such as fear, anger, hatred, jealousy, and …fear. And, from all these things the Tree of Ignorance has created enough energy to form lightening  … using it whenever its branches grow so heavy from holding on to all the pain those traits have caused.”

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“Why are the People of the Angel’s song running so scared?”

“Because this time, The Tree of Ignorance had decided to destroy The Great Tree.”

“Why?  I love the Great Tree.”

“That is your answer. The Tree of Ignorance is jealous of all the love the Great Tree receives. If the Great Tree is destroyed by fire, the Tree of Ignorance thinks it will be happier.  Eagle sees the fire approaching The Great Tree, but thinks the lush meadow will protect it.”

“Will it?”

fire“No it will not…The Great Tree is crying tears in an effort to protect its branches from the very fast moving fire…and it is calling out for Eagle. Eagle swoops down in front of the angry fire and frantically  beats its wings to try to move the fire in another direction.”

“Will that work?”

“No, the fire of Ignorance is too hot. The Great Tree knows it will be burned to the ground and while crying her last tears she wraps her branches around Eagle and says, ‘Eagle, I love you. I have loved watching you grow, watching you soar, watching you play with Squirrel…please take my Last Tear and keep it safe from Ignorance of all types.”

“Eagle says, ‘Great Tree, I can’t live without you.’  but suddenly Squirrel cries out in tremendous fear as the fire chased it up to the now smoking trunk of the Great Tree. ‘You must save Squirrel,’ says the Great Tree and suddenly flings Eagle toward the ground to save Squirrel.”

“Storyteller, this is all too sad…it is not a child’s story.  Oh no, the Great Tree is all on fire! And, and, …. it is gone, nothing left. Am I crying in my sleep, Storyteller?”

“We both are crying Dreamer. … What do you see now?”

“Eagle has taken Squirrel to a rocky bluff where fire cannot burn…and the fire is now out…and the People of the Angel’s Song are gone…and the Tree of Ignorance still seems angry and it is not satisfied. Why is that? It got everything it wanted?”

“Because needless wanting is a root of ignorance…and needless wanting can never be fulfilled.”

“Oh no, now Eagle is screaming at Squirrel. What is happening?  They are friends, they need each other now more than ever.”

“Ignorance spreads very quickly…and Eagle is very angry at Squirrel because when Eagle gently laid down the Last Tear, Squirrel  couldn’t help but eat it.”

“What a stupid thing to do!”

“Hmm, it appears ignorance has also taken over your mind too, Dreamer. You see Eagle flying away from Squirrel?”

“Yes Storyteller, Eagle is so angry it cannot soar and it has to flap its wings very hard to stay up in the sky.”

“Ignorance makes it very hard for one to soar and makes one very lonely too. Where is Eagle now?”

“Eagle is sitting on a burned out tree with its shoulders turned away from  where the Great Tree once grew.  It is staring into a darkness.”

“Where is Squirrel, Dreamer?”

“Squirrel is across the great meadow high on top of a cliff with its head held in shame and time just goes on and on with nothing but silence for what feels like an eternity.”

“Are you happy with this dream?”

“No, I am not Storyteller. No I am not.”

“Well listen carefully, what do you hear now?”

“I hear…I hear…I hear the Great Tree’s voice in the wind!”

“Indeed you do Dreamer. You see the Great Tree had spent many, many years also dancing with the Wind. Now the Great Tree’s voice can be heard in the Wind. What is the Great Tree saying?”

“It is saying, no it is yelling, ‘Eagle save Squirrel’ and Eagle suddenly turns and flaps its wings frantically in Squirrel’s direction but, …wait, Squirrel is not there…Oh no Squirrel has fallen off the cliff.”

“Yes, and Eagle swoops down and catches his old friend once again just before Squirrel is about to hit the ground. Now what do you see Dreamer?”

“Eagle and Squirrel are holding each other and crying many tears.”

“Dreamer, these are Tears of Forgiveness…Look very carefully. What do you see now?”

“The tears are creating a puddle where they stand…and now, now…What is it? Squirrel’s very last tear is different. It sparkles like a diamond and it solid as it sinks into the mud created by the Tears of Forgiveness.  Both Eagle and Squirrel stare in amazement and then curl around to protect where Squirrel’s last tear has fallen. Is this…”

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“Yes, Dreamer this is the Great Tree’s Last Tear which has turned into a seed. Without knowing it, Squirrel had actually saved the Last Tear and with Eagle’s willingness to overcome its own ignorance, the two of them have planted the Last Tear. Now is there anything left to your dream, Dreamer?”

“Oh so beautiful. There is another Great Tree where the seed was planted only it is bigger…taller…broader…stronger…and the People of the Angel’s Song have all returned to the love of the Great Tree. Storyteller?”

“Yes?”

“Will the Tree of Ignorance try to destroy the Great Tree again?”

“Constantly, Dreamer, constantly. This is why we must never stop dreaming.”

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