Warning From the Naked Trees

 This story came to me on a dreary day in late October. I was sitting at a table on the second floor of my local library. I could not help but look out the window and the barren trees. Through gloom and disaster, I wanted to end on a positive note.

I wrote this as an example that we should pay attention to what plants and animals around us are saying.

Sitting in my second-floor office looking out the window. Since my arrival this morning, I have been having trouble concentrating. My attention gets drawn out of my office window, where my attention becomes fixed on the grove of trees. Their leaves cover the ground beneath them. Seeing the barren branches sends chills along my spine.

Clouds move in front of the winter’s sun. Five geese were flying in my direction. For no reason, they make a wide U turn and fly off out of sight.A haunting coldness comes through the glass and touches my bones. I have to wait another three hours before I can forget my warm office space and take the uneventful journey home. But those trees seem to say something. I am having trouble grasping their message.

A tap on my shoulder. Jake stands above me. Not the Jake from State Farm. He says, “The boss wants to see you in his office.”

Rising from my chair and I transverse the distance from my office to his in apprehension for what he may want. After only a couple of steps, I remembered company policy. I stop, turn, and go back to my workstation. There I press the Windows key and the ‘L’ key, locking my computer. Now I finish my journey with more confidence.

Upon my arrival at my boss’s open door, I see him standing, looking out his window at the naked trees. I knock on his door frame. He turns and waves for me to enter.

“I understand you want to see me,” I say.

“Those naked trees look unusually haunting today.” He says.

I nod in agreement.

“Do you know what they are trying to say?”

“No, I don’t.”

“They must know what I am going to tell you.”

Standing on the opposite side of the desk. I brace myself while taking a deep breath. I just stand waiting for the worst.

“Sales have been slow. I am going to have to cut back on your hours. Go home early today and spend some time with your family.”

A sigh. In a sense of relief, my muscles relax. I thought he was going to lay me off. I pivoted and headed back to my desk, where I just grabbed my water bottle and headed out the door.

The whole distance from the elevator down to my car, everything felt so surreal. I could not shake the feeling something unusual would happen soon. I back out of my space; put the car in drive and head for the exit.

Pulling out onto the street, I turn right into traffic. Two blocks later, a rush of air and glass fragments hit my neck. Instinctively, I looked in my rearview mirror. Smoke and fragments of my work fly across the street.

Was this what those naked trees trying to tell me and my boss? Did my boss send me home early to spare my life?

A full year has passed since that dreadful day. I believe those trees sensed the impending explosion. If they had voices, could of have saved lives, maybe even prevented the explosion?

Reports have surfaced about the dangerous practices at that fireworks factory. One report suggested the owner blew the place up because he couldn’t pay his bills.

All I know was those trees knew and tried to warn us. Maybe we should spend more time listening to the trees and plants around us.