#Writespiration 71 The Thing That Got Cut Down #1000speak

Write about the thing that got cut downThis week, this post is both a challenge and part of the upcoming #1000speak day on the 20th December. #1000speak, if you haven’t heard of it is a movement trying to get 1000 people to write about compassion or related topics on one day (20th) and each month the theme is different, with compassion repeating every few months. I’ve missed a few months so thought it was time I joined in again.

To the writespiration: The challenge this week is to write about something being cut down. Maybe it’s a person being cut down in their prime, or perhaps something more physical.

The reason I chose it this week is because…(and this ‘half-story’ counts as my entry!):

I was walking my son into town the other day and there were some tree surgeons milling around our area. One was half way up, helmet and ear defenders on with his legs wrapped firmly round the tree. He let the chainsaw rip and cut a branch down in front of me.

It was weird. I had an urge to cover my sons eyes, like it was something bad or sordid. But I have no idea why. It was just a tree being cut down, yet, it felt so wrong. I’m not a tree hugger or anything but, I do like trees. This one in particular was huge, and stunning. Maybe that was why. I ushered us away and we walked into town to complete our errands.

On the way back the tree surgeons were still there. Except now the tarmac was littered with chopped logs. Each one looked like a severed limb. The tree didn’t bleed red like you or I would. Instead it scattered a blanket of shavings that looked like brown snow. It made me queasy. Thankfully my son had fallen asleep. But they were cutting the main trunk. The methodical grinding of the chainsaw ripped through my ears as it sliced further and further through the trunk.#1000speak

A hand signal went up – a truck moved forward. A crack echoed round the car park as the last bit of wood connecting trunk to root, severed. Then it fell. Slow, like a movie freeze frame. The thud reverberated through the ground, I expected it to echo. It didn’t. Instead it was almost hollow, like the ground swallowed the thud, desperate to cling to any bit of the tree it could. I felt desperately sad, something so beautiful had been cut down in its prime. It seemed pointless. A random act of violence. There’s so much violence in the world at the moment and we nature isn’t immune.

I’d still don’t know why I was so affected. I’ve seen far worst things in life than a tree being cut down, but this felt like I’d witnessed a murder. So today, I feel compassion, sympathy, sadness, regret for that tree and the lonely stump that now sits in its place.

***

Now to last weeks Writespiration where we were writing about being trapped.

Kim M. Russell was first in this week, with an awesome poem which you can see here.

Trapped

Bars of moonlight trap me in my bed

Lines of poems trapped in my head

Half awake and feeling half dead

Tied up in sheets

A gathering of knots

Behind soporific eyelids

Dancing dots

Of light

No shapes

Just first-light blurs

The only sound

The tick

Of a clock

Tick

Tock

***

Geoff scares the poop out of you with this newspaper piece:

13th May 2015. 10 year Mystery Solved. When developer John Fortune bought the derelict Chappel farm he didn’t expect to solve the mystery of Jamie Cross, missing since he was seven, last seen playing with his siblings one Saturday afternoon. People thought he’d been kidnapped by a stranger and taken out of State. The horror of that thought was awful but the truth worse for Jamie, playing hide and seek had shut himself in an old fridge but no one thought to look inside. His brother said they must have walked past the fridge a dozen times when hunting for him, not realising how close they were. The scratches on the inside of the door testified to his efforts to both get free and make himself heard.

***

Judy is back again with this evocative poem

Depression:
You wake up but still feel so tired
As if you’ve had no sleep at all.
Your thoughts are muddled and fuzzy
You just want to curl up in a ball.
Your head it feels so constricted
Like someone is squashing your brain
Your body has lost all momentum
And your soul is crying in pain
Yet, there’s no logical reason
Why you want to just be on your own
To lock yourself up with your sorrow
And be in that zombie- like zone
You are unable to communicate
Though God knows, you have tried
Your inmost thoughts want to break free
But your mind keeps them locked up inside.

***

Sarah up next with this beautifully twisted piece

I thought I was stuck.

That I’d wandered into a place I couldn’t get out of. How could I have enough self-loathing to cling to the rotting branches here when a world full of light surrounded me out there?

I cursed myself for my stupidity.

I knew I was trapped.

That I’d planned this long ago knowing I would allow myself to fall. How could I have the foresight to create this cycle, but not to avoid it?

I cursed myself for my predictability.

***

Next Jane, with an awe inspiring piece – I thought she had tricked me with an ironic title, but the ending jabs the knife of entrapment right in. Stunning writing.

Free

There used to be comfort in watching the river flow, the sun on the water, listening to the sounds, of birds singing and the wind in the leaves. I used to come here often when things weren’t going right, when words hung in the air between us and I needed to let them settle before I could face you again. Now you are gone, your words, harsh and gentle packed away or simply swept up with the dust of your passing. There was no more need to run to my hideaway for comfort, you said. No more tears to dry in the soft wind from the sea. I was free to be what I wanted to be, you said. No more constraints, complaints. I was free.

Sitting by the river, listening to the blackbird, nothing reaches me. I see and hear but it touches no nerve, sends no chord singing. I was free, you said as you set your sights on some far horizon where I would not be. But you closed the door on tomorrow, left me with the debris of a discarded past. The door is closed; the past a jagged, tangled, barbed mess. Free, you said. The word still rings in my head as I listen to the blackbird and hear only a reedy noise falling into the well at the world’s end.

***

Finally, Sloan has produced this awesome poem, and thank you for joining us for the first time, welcome and I hope you enjoy the ride.

Cage Rage 

by sloanranger

Were I a fish in a bowl

I think I’d be blue not gold.

I’d bubble and shout,

“Please let me out,”

and curse the day I was sold.

Were I a monkey in a zoo,

I’d be very angry at you.

I’d worry and pace,

throw waste at your face –

Oh wait, that’s just what they do.

Were I a bird in a cage,

I’d be very, very enraged;

I’d squawk and I’d cry.

“Please let me fly,”

my sorrow could not be gauged

If I was a whale in a pool,

made to act like a fool,

swim round and round –

sometimes I’d drown

a ‘handler’ or two, wouldn’t you?

And it always comes back to man,

we’re jailing now, all that we can.

We’re so ‘tough on crime,’

I can’t say that I’m,

surprised, it’s got out of hand.

For it’s ‘as above, so below’

and vice-versa, you know.

It always comes back,

kindness or lack –

be careful of what you sow.

***

55 comments

    1. Thank you Kim – and of course – I will post this with next weeks. I will pop over and read it in a couple of days when I write the next one 😀 <3 Thank you for joining in.

  1. Hi Sacha, no time to write a story – sorry but something to share on a positive note. This last year there was a lot of deforrestation carried out around our village, especially on the slopes around our favourite walk to the beach. It looked horrid, totally devastated. Then they replanted with saplings. They have flourished, the grass has regrown. the land restored. Nature wins again!!! Hope that helps? Jx

  2. I have to say that I had not thought that much about trees being felled before, but the way you told that story really made me see it in a different light. Trees are after all. living entities, and to hack it down for no reason does seem cruel and unnecessary.

  3. I have to start doing your prompts again. I always seem to forget. I don’t know if I’ll make this week’s, but I’ll certainly try if I think of something!

    1. Don’t worry Rachel – I completely understand – its only meant to be a bit of fun if you have time – there are at least 20 challenges I would do if I had time, I just barely have time to write my own posts at the moment. ARGH!

  4. My hometown’s nickname is the City of Oaks and trees play a major part in the city’s charm so I always get a little bothered seeing them get taken down before their prime, especially when all that is going in its place is another shopping center.

    1. No way? That’s an awesome nickname – good for a story too. Might have to steal that! I agree about mindless tree felling. especially given they do so much for our environment feels like we should be protecting them.

  5. You’ll have to forgive a northern Idohan for loving to log! If it’s any consolation, the trees the Hub and I fall are already dead (called “dead fall”). Anyone can buy a permit and for $25 we can cut up to 5 cords of wood as long as it’s dead fall. It’s our primary source of heat. I’m mesmerized by the logging history of this region when they logged in the winter because it was easier to skid logs over the snow. I’m toying with a story for my next novel about a woman who does a man’s job in the 1920s and the social ramifications. Here’s my “cut-down story” for you!

    Built Strong by Charli Mills

    Her mother’s thick arms had rolled and kneaded bread for a family of eight, and that was the surviving children. Add to the family’s meals all the sawyers in a single winter camp and Hilda pounded out lots of dough. She also scrubbed the wooden platform of the cook tent, churned Jersey butter, and pounded laundry on the rocks along whatever river they temporarily lived until every stick of virgin timber was down and floated to the mill. They cut her down for being stout and stocky, snickering at her round hips and staring at her beefy bosom as if no one could see their leers.

    Not Jen. She was just as thick as her Ma but no one dared snicker at her the way she could saw a tree faster than any man on the crew. She was built strong. They reserved a special hatred for a woman like her.

    1. Of course you are forgiven. You know I am a hypocrite – we have a log fire in our living room! so I have my fair share of logs too. Whats a cord of wood? That novel sounds really promising, especially given the passion already oozing from you. I have no issue with tree felling, this was completely random and an isolated event for me!

      WOW what a piece of flash was SO good. I loved the ending – that last line is a killer. You HAVE to write it now. I love the feminist theme too <3 beautiful imagery as always

      1. Ha, ha! You have a log fire! But I agree, there’s a difference in cutting down a live or dead tree. We currently have a tree on life support in our living room (amputated from the forest ground and stuck in a stand with water to drink). Makes Christmas trees sound morbid!

        A cord is a proper measurement that I basically call “two truck loads” of rounds (cut logs not yet split).

        Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve got to hold back the reins on this story until I get Rock Creek off to my editor, but already I feel it pulsing with the spirit of a strong woman who defied the male patriarchy of logging in the frontier of the Pacific Northwest when the young men went to fight overseas. What if she refused to give up her role afterwards?

        1. I know right – total hypocrite! lol. aww on life support – that makes it sound awful – I kind of wish we could replant them after. I might when we have a garden, plant an evergreen and put lights on that every year so we don’t have to cut one down.

          I know what you mean about holding back the reigns – I am chronically afflicted with the disease of starting multiple projects!

  6. Was the tree being cut down for any reason? I’ve seen plenty of trees being trimmed for good reasons, like the branches are heavy and in danger of snapping and hurting somebody below, but to cut a tree down for no reason should be a crime. However, like Judith mentioned, sometimes trees are replaced by the planting of two, three, or even more trees. Maybe the tree was diseased?

    Here’s a piece of flash for your challenge.

    As soon as the leaf from the strange looking plant was pulled off, it let out a huge scream. Not only that, but all the other plants and trees started to scream.

    “You have broken the rules of the Planet Treelant” boomed a voice. “You are hereby sentenced to death.”

    The party of humans could see no-one. Where had the voice come from?

    Moments later the whole party was cut down, as plants and trees lashed out their branches and beat the strange creatures, known as humans, to death. Younger plants looked away in horror, whilst the parents of some of the younger plants and trees hid the view of what was happening from their siblings eyes.

    1. So I am not sure. I assume it was being cut for a reason. I just don’t know what that reason was.

      I read this flash the other day, and my jaw hit the floor! Brutal! I loved the ending so sweet, and I can just imagine it too. <3 thank you for joining in.

  7. Marcus was always impatient especially at the end of the season. ‘Why don’t we just cut them down. They’ll rot quicker.’
    ‘Tis nature’s way,’ said his father. ‘Let ’em go back to the ground in their own time. Tis for the best.’
    ‘Bloody old fool,’ muttered Marcus but it was his father’s farm and he did nothing.
    When his father was dying, he called for Marcus. ‘Son, I know you’ve plans but let nature be nature. Dunna hurry she.’
    Marcus wept and promised.
    The end of the season came and Marcus and his men stood by the edge of the field. The men were nervous. ‘Cut it all down,’ said Marcus holding his own scythe. He stepped forward and swung his blade. Gradually all the men joined in. The stalks and husks fell and indeed in no time had they rotted back. So effective was it that a second crop was planted and harvested. The food tasted good. Bellies were unusually full and Marcus was a visionary.
    Marcus stood by the field, his men behind him. It was time to cut down the second crop. ‘My scythe,’ he said. The foreman handed him the implement. ‘Fool, this is too big.’
    ‘But sir, this is the one you used before. At the first cut.’
    Marcus bellowed at the man and a smaller scythe was found.
    Each year, Marcus led the cutting; each year the men knew to find a smaller scythe. They wondered when Marcus would notice the changes. They could do without the excess food but they feared for their leader.
    But Marcus knew. His clothes and shoes need constant adjustment. He lost height and weight. After ten seasons he found his wife crying. ‘The cutting must stop, Marcus. You will soon be no more and the men will lose respect.’
    At the end of the season Marcus handed back the scythe and said, ‘This year the stalks will rot. In the old way.’
    Gradually life adjusted. After five years he wore an old suit. After ten he was a big man again, fully in charge of his land. The cutting was a distant memory.
    Now his son was old enough to join the ceremony at the end of the season. Marcus saw the boy fidgeting. He smiled and put an arm around those impatient shoulders. ‘What is it Jonathan?’ ‘Why don’t we cut, dad?’

  8. So many beautiful articles here by some wonderful writers. And sometimes it is really sad when we watch the slaughter of trees, if we really think about it. I hope to be joining in some challenges come the new year with you all. These past few months have been challenging, and I try and spend whatever writing time, writing my book. 🙂 <3

  9. I recently read a newspaper account of a family who purchased a beautiful home at the end of a lane of ash trees. The trees were a beautiful accent to their home and property. The government had a project at the time of cutting down trees affected with ash tree borer and trees that might possibly become infected. They came to this family’s home and removed ALL of the beautiful ash trees as a precaution. So sad. I love trees, and done everything possible to protect the trees under my care throughout the years.

  10. I understand the sadness about the tree, Sacha. I live in timber country where clear cutting massacres the wilderness. Nothing alive is left. Huge trees, generations old, are killed. The timber companies replant, but there is a devastating feeling of life lost.

    I watched an experiment on Youtube where plants were hooked up to electrodes. Initially their electrical impulses created random sounds. When the plant became aware that it was generating the sounds, it began to play music. What if plants are sentient? What if the whole planet is alive?

    See…I read your posts and this is where my mind goes 🙂

    1. Ok WHAAAAAAT????? No freaking way. Do you think you could find it again? I would LOVE to watch that film. Oh god, I am never going to be able to eat a bloody vegetable in without apologising ever again! What if its true…. WHAT IF ITS TRUE?????????

      I fully believe the planet is alive in some way, everything connected, theres too much beauty and energy for it not to be

      1. All life comes at a great sacrifice of life. The key is thankfulness.

        Here’s the intro from the site:
        “The music in this recording has actually been performed by a plant, Anthurium (anthurium andreanum), thanks to a specific electronic device. Plants emit signals in reaction to external stimuli and to communicate with everything. These signals are detectable as variations in the bio-electrical field of the plant and can be converted into a MIDI signal (Musical Instruments Digital Interface). I sent this MIDI signal into a synthesizer and programmed a soft, soothing sound tuned at 432 Hz. After some time being connected to such device and producing sounds, plants seem to become aware of the process; they seem to understand that those sounds are coming from them… and they start playing with it.”
        Here’s the link, Sacha. It’s kind of amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZX5B_p79V4

        1. Thanks Diana, I have popped this in my watch later list on youtube 😀 will find time this xmas. Even reading your comment blows my mind!! I think this might have to be a weekly wonder – dedicated to you 🙂

  11. Hi Sasha, thanks so much for contributing to #1000Speak. I haven’t seen the writespiration linkup before. Can we write anything about the topic. And do we submit to you or on our blog and give you the link to it? Looks like a lot of fun!

    1. Hi Tamara, sorry for the delay, I only catch up with these posts the day before the next one goes live.

      I haven’t done a writespiration as part of 1000speak before. Usually I write a post – although I have missed a few months.

      So the writespiration – basically write whatever you like inspired by the prompt – which this time is:

      “The thing that got cut down.”

      You can either paste it in the comments or write a post and pingback. If you fancy joining in – I will post it with next weeks rather than tomorrow 😀

  12. We can’t always explain why we get upset or worked up about an issue but for me it’s sufficient that we do. Sometimes, the reason becomes clearer down the track but other times not. Personally, I think it’s right to get upset about anything getting destroyed in it’s prime. It’s such a waste and we live in such a finite world. xx Rowena

  13. It’s been almost a year since I last sat in this chair. I have dreaded this moment. But ever since this thing has grown out of proportions, I have actually been looking forward to this moment. I’m wondering if it will hurt, if I will feel different after the cut down moment.

    The person standing behind me is getting ready, putting the metal tools on the table. Should I feel nervous?
    “Are you ready?” A sweet and understanding voice, does not keep me from hesitating. I then nod my head, unable to find my voice.

    See how the person behinds me takes the tools and comes closer to me. I doubt if I made a sane and correct decision. I can’t, I …

    shut my eyes. The sound of cutting, a tug at my head, a feeling of being freed of a terrible weight.
    “It’s done!” The voice coming from behind me sounds happy, uplifting.

    I open my eyes, scared and curious at the same time. Just in time to see the person behind me put the thing, she cut down in a big brown envelope.
    I … look… different.

    The mirror shows my hair is cut short for the first time in 18 years. The braided and cut hair in the envelope is send to Think Pink. I feel sorrow but am proud of myself! I’ve finally done something I always wanted to do! Donate my hair, to make wigs for people affected by cancer. I just have to find a way being happy looking at this new face in the mirror!

    https://storybookdenise.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/cut-short/

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