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Mervyn The Hired Hand

A Paradox of Trees and Santas

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Mervyn The Hired Hand

There is a chasm where two trees once stood nearly side by side. One was tall, strong, and had beard-like moss hanging from its many branches; the other was squat, stunted and with a smooth, shiny bark.

Fortune was kind to the bearded tree by placing its seed near a stream, where there were no other trees to shade it from the life-giving sun, and where it was protected from violent storms by the walls of the gorge. The other tree was not so fortunate. Its seed had caught in a crevice on the edge of a cliff where the soil was dry and sparse, without shelter from the ruining storms.

The tree with beard-like moss on its branches grew quickly and easily, multiplying its size and strength each year while the smooth-skinned tree grew very slowly, and would have died except for its natural tenacity and clinging roots. In fact, the smooth-skinned tree grew so slowly, and the bearded tree grew so fast, that the former was deprived of a good deal of sunlight by the shadow of the latter.

After many years, the bearded tree reached its terminal height and stopped growing. Shortly thereafter, it caught a disease and started to decay from the roots upward. Through all this the shiny-skinned tree continued to grow, slowly and painfully as it had done before.

This continued until at last the top of one was no closer to the sun than was the top of the other. Then one day the tree with bearded branches, though in part resisting such action, fell against the tree with the shiny skin. Each was split in half nearly to the roots, so that half of one rested between the halves of the other.

The edge of the cliff and the floor of the gorge are now overgrown with small saplings reaching for the sun. Bearded branches and shiny branches are intermingled in the chasm. There are even a few gnarled specimens of each slowly growing on the edge of the gorge. There are also a few trees with shiny skin that have beard-like moss hanging from their many branches. They appear more healthy, and are growing faster than other trees there.

Children play in the leaves in autumn with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, thinking the feasting of Thanksgiving and the horrors of Halloween will soon be over, allowing their favorite season to bloom again. Conscious that respect, kindness, generosity, and inclusiveness permeate that season, they dream of the bearded wonder with smooth skin and thank the trees for the role model they provided. Holiday children revel in their small roles in creating magic, learning about love, hope and joy.

At least in one quarter, time and nature achieved a thorough integration of disparate species, and affected a desirable change in the order of things, perhaps showing the way for others to follow.

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Black River Santa

Beautiful thought!

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