Monday, April 30, 2007

The forest People

This is my first piece of creative writing probably since english class in high school, was fun to write.

Once in a time not to distant and not too different from our own their lived a group of people in a large forest. They lived a simple life eating the plants and some of the animals around them, consciously spreading some plants and restricting some animals. These people felt they were part of the forest, knowing the names of all the other creatures in it and going so far as to believe than each of the tree’s was a relative of theirs and that each of the animals shared the same parents as their own. They ate animals which were plentiful one year and when they were sparse ate different ones. These people were part of the forest and knew it was part of them.

One day into the forest came a young man brash and ignorant he looked around him saying “why should the birds eat the berries I like so much?” so he went out and killed the birds and indeed the berries grew well for a while and the young man was happy stuffing himself with the fruit he loved. One day he realized that there were no new berry plants and asking one of the elders why there were no more he was told that “the birds helped the berries, spreading the seed causing new plants to grow”. The young man said to himself “I do not want or need birds I will just plant the seeds myself” and set out throughout the forest planting the berries wherever gaps let the light fall onto the forest floor.

After a while the young man grew tired of walking round planting seeds and asked himself “why should the tree’s block the light I need to grow berries?” and he decided to clear the forest to build himself a home and to create light for his berries to grow. This worked for a while and the berry bushes grew tall and strong with the rich soil left behind by the tree’s and the bright light coming from the sky.

Unknown to the young man it was the breath of the trees which created much of the rain in the forest. Without the trees to cause rain the ground dried up and the bush’s withered and died.. So the young man energetic in the prime of his youth dammed the stream to give water to his berry bushes. The fish of course were not happy with not being able to get back up the stream to give birth and with no new fish the streams gradually became emptier and emptier. The bears also were not happy as they ate the fish and they were now going hungry and having to eat the people living in the forest to survive. The tree’s were also unhappy with the dam because they relied on the fish to bring nutrients into the forest, nutrients which had been washed into the sea long before.

The soil long built by worm’s insects and bugs living in the leaves and branches dropped by trees began to disappear without the blanket of life left by the trees. The soil withered became dust and began to blow away in the strong winds which were no longer slowed by the forest. So the young man hurried this way and that trying to get plants to form the same blanket that the tree’s had always provided. But no matter how hard he worked the soil was never as good as the tree’s had created and every year more and more got washed or blown away.

Because all the other plants were gone and now there were only berry plants the insects also grew hungry and asked each other “why should we go hungry whilst the young man stuffs himself with berries?” and so the insects without any other sources of food began to attack and tried to kill off the berry plants. Because the young man had killed off all the birds there was nothing to keep the insects from growing in numbers and they grew so quickly that most of the berry plants died. The young man had killed everything else so he had to have the berries to eat and he quickly found poisons to put on his berries to kill the insects.

The young man by now was tired having to plant the berries, to chop down the forests and all the plants which wanted to steal lights and nutrients from his plants, to dam the rivers to provide water to his plants as well as rich soil for them to grow on and now having to spend his nights killing insects which ravaged his plants. So the young man decided to make his friends and family help him saying “you are lazy and the gods hate laziness you must stop eating the plants around you and must help me build dams and chop down the forests”. When the people around him would not help him the young man gathered some friends and said “if you help me I will make it so you never have to work and that others will grow and give you all of your food”

The young man and his friends forced those around them to help. Because they spent so long growing berrys and because they killed everything else on the land with poisons, fires and axes the young man and his friends grew a lot of food. This made sense because all they did was take from the land, all the other plants and animals in the forest gave back, but the man only took. The man and his friends quickly grew in number and forced those around them to grow food like they did, killing the forests streams and everything else that had lived on the land. It was painful to kill their brothers and sisters so the young man made up a new story saying “the plants and animals are not our relatives instead they were made to serve us” as well it was hard to enslave his friends and family for long without growing sad so the young man made up more storys saying that “man needs to control all those around him for all others are wicked and do not live like us” He also said “I am only in charge because I work so hard, If you are just like me then one day you will be in charge”.

The young mans tribe grew larger and larger and the dams grew bigger and bigger, the young man saw that he and his friends could no longer control all people and he told the people that another form of control was needed. And explained to the people that they needed governments to tell them what to do saying “people are nasty and wicked and the dams are very complex, somebody needs to make the decisions as you do not know enough to decide for yourselves” he then said “As I cleared the land this land is mine, you can grow berries for me and I will give a few back to you to live on because I am such a noble person” without land to gather food from and afraid of the mans friends the people agreed and lived off the few berries the young man gave them every year.

This continued for many years with the young mans descendants cutting down more and more forest to grow the berries that the young man had grown so much. The people worked very hard to grow the food and lived far shorter lives than when they lived in the forests but they told themselves “we are far more advanced than those forest people, we have a king who tells us what to do and we have engineers who build larger and larger dams, we have scientists who make better and better soil for our plants and we have better and better poisons to kill the bugs that still want our berries”. And of course they had their religion which told them that they were living the right way and that all those that lived in the forest and believed the forest talked to them were evil.

And because they thought the forest and those that lived in it were evil they sent out their young people to tell the forest people how they should be living. But the forest people said “why should we change? The forest gives us what we need, it is part of our family why would we harm it”. And the young people tried to explain how the forest was not family and how they should not talk to it. Because the forest people would not listen to them and the old land they had planted berries on had dried up and become desert the young mans descendants killed all the remaining forest people and chopped down the remaining forests constantly searching for new places to plant the precious berries.

After a very long time the young mans descendants had forgotten they had come from the forest and thought they had always grown berries on clear land. But some came to realize they were growing sick, that those in charge were growing wealthy and that most were still living very harsh lives and that the great forests were almost gone along with all those that lived in them.

So most of those that realized there was a problem talked about how they needed to change those in power that if only the berries were distributed equally then everything would be ok. Some talked of how that if the insects were killed with natural poisons or if the plants were grown on natural soil then everything would be ok. Some talked of how if only we could make better dams, if we built better cities then everything would be ok. But no matter how much they tried to change each little thing nothing worked for they all still believed that the way they were living was the only way people had ever lived.

Even those who were saddened by the loss of the fish and forests could not think of a world in which humans were not in control and even those that did not like the way the young mans descendants lived were still afraid of those that talked to tree’s saying to each other “we must not alienate the public, the best way to bring about change is to tell people how best to spend their berries”.

Some of the people in this society came to realize that the stories told to them about how “the plants and animals were made to serve us” seemed false and ventured back into the forests to talk to the few people that remained in them. To their suprise the forst people were happy and did not suffer from the great sadness felt by those in citys. They studied these and many other people and found that there were other ways of growing berries, that if forests were allowed to regrow that birds and insects would work with people not against them. That dams were only necessary once you had chopped down the trees and that all the young mans descendants could be fed and the forests could regrow at the same time. They even found that the deserts created by the young man could once again be covered in forest.

Some listened and began to replant the once great forests starting in there backyards and around their neighborhoods, others went to the deserts and showed the people their how to catch and hold onto water in ditches. Gradually the great forests began to regrow and a thick green forest came to cover first suburbs then citys and then entire countries. And living in these forests people came to once again hear the voices of the plants and animals around them and came to once again know that everything is related they were once again happy living as forest people.


Marcy said...

Man, this is awesome! I'm gonna link to it from my blog.

John said...

Thanks :)