The Kids

Over on Quilly’s blog right now, you can read about how, when she was young, she and some of her friends climbed a tree and lived to tell the tale. Somehow. Danged if I know how. But it occurred to me, as I was reading this story, that there’s a party to this conversation that, up ’til now, has been silent


I heard that!!

Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you. Yeah, you. Sittin’ there lyin’ in my shade with your fat head up against my trunk and thinkin’ that bein’ a tree has to be the laziest life there is.

You think it’s easy bein’ green? I’m tellin’ you, pal, that blasted frog of yours don’t know the half of it. He only has to worry about pigs and bears and forks in the road. Me? Floods, and fires, and thunderstorms, and droughts and … You get dandruff, what do you go do? Take a shower and shampoo your hair. Right? I get gypsy moths, what do I get to do? Sit there and take it, that’s what. Have you got any idea what it’s like to come down with a case of bark beetles, and you can’t scratch nothin’?!?

Leave that pine cone alone! It’s hard enough getting’ any new trees started around here without you messin’ with the production line. Sheesh. I put out thousands of those things every year, and what with the weevils and the worms and the birds and the squirrels, most of the babies – my babies – don’t even make it down to the ground. What did you think all this pitch is about? Huh? Huh?? And then, the ones that do make it … well, which one of you yahoos was it that came up with the idea of lawnmowers?

Somehow, when we were young, we made it through all that. Damned if I know how. It certainly wasn’t any thanks to you or your kind. ‘Cause just when we thought we were going to grow up to make cones of our own, and even get big enough to prop up the fat heads of people lying in our shade, these kids of yours came along.

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were still skinny and supple. We needed to be because, if we weren’t, we’d snap off in the first big wind, and that would be all for us. Not that your verminous brats cared. They’d clamber up us until we bent over double, and then jump off. Bwoooinngg!! We lost Cotton and Wally when they just broke under the strain. They weren’t even around long enough for the Alders to tell them about the birds and the bees and the (God damn you) chainsaws. But did they care? No! They didn’t care. They just laughed and squealed and climbed right back up for another go.

I almost got one of ’em. Yes sirree. Proudest day of my life. Or it would have been if the damned dog had done his job. ‘Course, I should have known. Dogs sold out to your kind when my great-great-grandmother was a sapling. I don’t know what I was thinkin’. But one o’ them kids thought she was goin’ to just hang on when the others jumped off. I gave her a ride, yes I did. And I gotta tell ya, she flew through the air with the greatest of ease, that white little girl with no flying trapeze. But when she came down, she didn’t break her spine. I was hopin’ I could send her shade to join Cotton’s and Wally’s. No such luck. And then the dog didn’t eat her. She lived to ram two more of us with her bicycle. Somebody somewhere must love her more than us, I tell you. And I tell you, that still burns.

Well, why do you think you and your kind decided to call us pine trees?

Yeah, right. Run off home like you’ve seen a ghost or somethin’, and don’t believe a word I say.

I hope your house gets carpenter ants!

   – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2008 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.


  1. Ohhh my my my…. Quilly really did pick the WRONG tree to mess around with didn’t she… I bet he was handin’ out switches to parents too! That’s a MEAN ol’ tree!

  2. Why are they called pine trees?

    If they complain so much, shouldn’t they be called whine trees?

  3. Polona, there’s a reason I didn’t climb trees. Unlike some people I could name …

    Melli, that’s a terrible thought. Switches were bad enough without having them come from trees that seconded the motion. No wonder no one sees them any more. Even when and where they might be of use (and remember, you did not hear that here).

    Crazycath, someone needs to introduce you to Old Man Willow. Not up too close and personal, mind you …

    Kitty, have you never pined for anything? Besides, if they were whine trees, someone would tell us “that’s where the grapes of wrath come from”. And you wouldn’t wish for that, now would you?

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