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The voice of the leaves.

by RaidenCheese

I remember when you were small.

You barely reached your mother's knees on that first day I saw you.

You ran about the yard, enjoying the freedom, but then you stopped by me. And you looked at me. With that twinkle of curiosity and wonder in your eye, I couldn't help but feel happy. It was obvious, wasn't it? The way I shook - trembled, with excitement. I was so happy to meet you.

You had gotten bigger.

You were still small, but you'd learned to speak. And you asked your mother - very politely - if you were allowed to climb me. I was ecstatic; I was worried. I am not the easiest to climb. Though my limbs are strong, they are far apart, and you, with your own stubby arms and legs could never hope to save yourself if you were to fall.

Your mother said no, and I was glad she was a responsible mother.

I would have been devastated if anything happened to you.

Once more, you had gotten bigger.

Your face looked sharper then, yet still so youthful and bright. Your parents came outside and hung a colourful string ladder off of one of my limbs.

You didn't ask permission, but I didn't mind.

The joy I saw on your face was enough for me.

You stopped coming outside as often.

You seemed to be away from home for most of the day, then. I had heard from the pigeons that chatted upon me about "school" and "classes". I did not know what that was, but I still hoped that you were enjoying your time there.

Perhaps a month later, you brought more small humans with you; all about the same height, all with the same bright, smiling faces. You had made friends! I was overjoyed.

It took a while, but you stopped coming outside nearly altogether.

You did still come visit, every once in a blue moon, but nowhere near as often as before. I wasn't mad. I wasn't sad, either. It was fine with me. I was simply grateful I knew you. Grateful that I could watch you grow.

I was grateful that you still visited, once in a while.

One day, you hit me.

You hit me hard. As hard as you could. I felt it. I was hurt.

Not physically, but rather because you were going through something that made you hit me. I was sad I could not comfort you. The most I could do was act as a seat for you as you cried.

You felt it, right? My sympathy for you. It was there. I hope you knew.

I truly hope you knew.

You were about the size of your mother, then, yet still with that youthful glaze.

You were busier then; I could tell. The time between visits was long, and yet each time I saw you, you looked to me more and more certain of yourself. You had a certain grace to you, a certain spring to your step that I never forgot. There was still that wonder in your eye, whenever my flowers would bloom, and you still looked at me in a way that reminded me of how you did back then.

Back when you were barely as tall as your mother's knees.

It's been years since you last came outside to visit.

I'm certain you are very busy. You're almost as busy as your mother was, all those years ago. I do hope you're doing well. I couldn't bear to see you in pain once more. If only I could communicate with you.

If only I could speak.

One day, you brought out the string ladder once more.

You hung it on me once again, and for a moment, I had a sense of deja vu. But I am confused. Surely you do not need the ladder to climb me? What could you possibly-

Ah. I understand. I completely understand.

I am filled with joy.

To see your own little ones run out, the same size as you once were, running out of the house with that same, bright smile adorning their faces. The same twinkle of wonder and curiosity in their eyes, just the same as yours once were. And as you look fondly at me and smile, I realise.

I'm so happy.

I truly, truly am.

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22 Reviews

Points: 54
Reviews: 22

Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:02 am
Josie24 wrote a review...

AWWWW!!! This story tugs at heartstrings. I was NOT prepared. Aw, now I'm crying. Thank you so much for this story! I'm thankful I got to read it. When I got to the part of the child hitting the tree, I kinda got mad at the child, before realizing that the child was going through something there. Oops. This tree is gonna make me cry. Well-harder. I never thought of a tree's view of a child growing up. I feel bad that I laughed when the tree wished that the child was happy at school-school is such a hardship sometimes! Anyway, THANKS!!!

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382 Reviews

Points: 15691
Reviews: 382

Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:14 pm
Dreamy wrote a review...

Hello there! jster02 has covered pretty much everything, and so I will keep this short.

It was interesting to read from the perspective of the Tree and I'm really glad that the end wasn't about it getting cut down. In that respect, this was a fresh read and showed the generation enjoying the happiness and strength of the tress.

I agree with jster02, this piece does weaver from being a prose and poetry and I know you have separated sentences for that effect particularly and they are a bit jarring. Like for instance, this part:

and you still looked at me in a way that reminded me of how you did back then.

Back when you were barely as tall as your mother's knees.

This will sound sound when written in the same line and will deliver the same effect-- the poetic one that you're going for.

There's something else too.

Once more, you had gotten bigger.

You have repeated this sentence twice and I understand the need but it sort of affected the flow of the story when I read and I thought maybe you could replace this with something else, for example:

"You had gotten bigger now."

Just that repetition of this particular sentence didn't do enough justice to the flow of the story.

Overall, this was a good read. I liked it! Keep up the good work!

Keep writing!

Cheers! :D

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44 Reviews

Points: 2965
Reviews: 44

Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:01 am
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jster02 wrote a review...

This story straddles the line between prose and poetry, or at least, it feels that way to me. The entire thing has a strange sense of peace about it, probably something to do with the tree's personality, and willingness to forgive. The ending especially put a smile on my face, because I wasn't expecting it, though maybe I should have. I've read a lot of stories with sad endings as of late, so it was good to see something happy for a change.

I feel like I've met this tree before in other stories, particularly The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. I'm not just talking about sentient trees in general, but trees with this sort of selfless and patient personality. It's a trope that's already been used many times, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you are okay with it. If you weren't already aware of this and want to change it, I'd imagine a simple personality quirk would help make it feel a little more fresh. It also helps that, like I mentioned earlier, I haven't quite seen it presented like this before. (Usually the tree can communicate with humans, somehow, but you forced the tree to keep it's thoughts to itself).

The style of writing feels quite simple, in a good way. There are no glaringly awkward sentences, and the grammar is fairly solid throughout, (granted, I'm not one to judge). One of my only real gripes is that there are quite a few places throughout that just feel a little bit choppy. This could easily be fixed by combining a few sentences, for example,

One day, you hit me.

You hit me hard. As hard as you could. I felt it. I was hurt.

Could become,

One day, you hit me hard, as hard as you could. I felt it and I was hurt.

These sentences flow together a little better than before, as there are less pauses between ideas. Additionally, the extra line break is removed, something that also causes the reader to pause. I noticed you did this quite a few times throughout the story, which contributed to the poetry aesthetic surrounding the tale, but there a couple points where it seemed to do more harm than good. For instance, the example above. Many times I thought those sentences should've been merged into one paragraph to make for a smoother reading experience. At the same time though, I get that you may have been trying to put those pauses there on purpose as a stylistic choice. If that is the case, I'd recommend just playing with those single sentence paragraphs a little, making sure that the ideas behind each individual line are self contained, if that makes any sense to anyone other than me. I'd certianly hate to see such an interesting design quirk go to waste.

One other little thing I noticed was that you used both past and present tense, where there should only really be one or the other throughout. For example,
I had a sense of deja vu. But I am confused.

Should either be,
I had a sense of deja vu. But I was confused.


I have a sense of deja vu. But I am confused.

This should be consistent through the whole story (except in flashbacks if you decide to use primarily present tense). Fortunately, this was the only grammatical mistake I noticed, and you're certianly not the first person to make it, so don't feel too bad.

All that aside, this was a really great story. It probably won't take much more polish to get it as good as it can get, so I'd definitely encourage you to take another stab at it. Hope to see more of your work on the site!


I don't have much knowledge about marsupials.
— ForeverYoung