Essay — What goes around

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Image of dead tree lying on its side under blue sky
Image source: publicdomainstockphotos –

The epic massacre, legend in the grapefruit orchard, took place a hundred human-years earlier. None of the current standing grapefruit trees were first-hand witnesses. Eldfather Tree, who had lived nearly half a human century, heard the story in his youth from the last remaining adult tree who survived The Storm. That tree whispered of how she was maimed and misshapen by the wicked white fingers of the cold.

Eldfather relayed the tale to each new crop of saplings. “Grow tall,” he said, “and sink deep roots so you will survive in times of frost and cold, for those times will surely come again.”

In his youth, the saplings listened respectfully as their bright leaves shivered in the wind. But as many seasons of warmth and comfort passed and the horrible events faded without repeat, the tale of The Storm softened around the edges and turned into myth.

And then one day the chill wind blew again, and the wicked white fingers of snow and ice squeezed the life from the trees in the grapefruit orchard. Those few who survived whispered of how they were maimed and misshapen.

In the early seasons, the saplings listened…

Do you remember lessons learned?



HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter duo who write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at


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