We passed through the realm of the trees, who stood in patient crowds upon the rolling hills. The ones by the wayside stared as we passed by, but said nothing--or if they whispered, I did not hear. In the distance, some trees were dancing.
Gold and russet and tawny and scarlet populated the landscape. Barren birches stretch the thinnest white fingers skyward. Perhaps their yearning for verticality drained their color, their substance: they poured their strength into stretching up and up, and could not spare any for other directions and dimensions.
Beside them, less emaciated trees flickered like garnet-red flames. Each leaf blazed with its own fire. The red trees seemed to smile at the world, like girls watching, laughing, tossing their red hair. The birches were austere, serious; these trees were joyous.
As far as the eye could see spread crowd upon crowd of trees, holding their land, watching over it, reaching for the sky. They stand together day after day, each beside the same neighbors season after season, as their branches begin to intertwine, and they drop leaves on each other's feet. Their society must be flourishing, I think, when arboreal cities can cover so many hillsides.
They outnumbered us--the flame trees, the white birches, the golden maples, the stubbornly green pines. We stuck to the road, and tried not to stare too hard as we went by. We didn't speak to any of the citizens there, and they watched us from a distance.
Someday I would like to go back to that kingdom, and see what the life of a tree is like.