The Last Tree

The mother gripped her son’s hand, perhaps a little too tightly. They walked together on the cobblestone path, through the tall grasses on either side of the path.

“Mommy, your hand is sweaty.” The boy tried to shake his hand free, but the mother would not let go.

“We’re almost there, just over this rise and we’ll see it.”

“But I don’t want to see it,” said the boy. “It’s scary.”

The mother stopped the boy, turned him sharply, and shook her finger in his face. “Don’t you ever say that. This is important. Maybe the most important thing.”

He began to cry and she told him to stop it, then wiped his tears, and pulled him close, close enough to share warmth and they could smell each other.

They continued on the path.

“You’ll see,” the mother said. “It’s important because it is the last one. The last one left. The only one.”

“Good,” said the boy. “I don’t like it, it scares me.”

The mother stopped again, this time with a sylvan weight on her shoulders, the loss of forests and glades and copses and timberlands and wood lands and the rain forest. The rain forest most of all. All cut down to make way.