When the little boy went out to play, after his chores were done, he would go into the field and visit the tree. He loved to lie beneath its branches and rest in its shade. The tree, tall and strong, had been there all his life, even before his life. The boy had come to admire the tree, how it stood firm against the landscape, how the leaves would sing rustling songs when the wind blew. There were days when the sun shone bright and light would pierce the shade below and the sunflecks and shadows danced together. When the clouds passed over the tree and the shadows moved, he imagined them to be people playing under the tree as he did. All this delighted the little boy.
One day, as the little boy lay under the tree, dreaming dreams little boys dream, he spotted a man walking down the road. At first, it appeared the man did not notice him. Of all the days the little boy spent beneath the tree, he had never been interrupted by anyone before. No one had walked down the road before. The man’s presence was new. When the man came closer, close enough to see the little boy, he stopped, turned and called to him.
“What? Sir, are you speaking to me?”
“Is there anyone else around?” the man said.
“Only me and the tree” the boy said.
“Do you mind if I come and rest a bit beneath the tree. I have traveled a long way” the man said.
“I suppose it’s ok” the boy replied.
The man approached and sensing the boys reservation, said, “This is a fine tree you have here. How long has it been here?”
“All my life and then some” he said.
“Why do you like the tree?”
“Sir, the tree never changes. The wind blows, the clouds come and go, night and day cover the tree, but the tree is always here and always has been, in my life and before.”
The man thought. Then, he said, “May I show you something?” “I suppose” the boy said.
With that the two walked to the other side of the tree (everyone knows trees don’t have sides). The man said, “From this side, the tree is different. It’s shape and color and bark are different.” Then he pulled from his pocket a crystal. “Look through this crystal and tell me what you see.” Looking, the little boy saw different colors and distorted images of the tree. All was blurred.
“Now, do you understand this is not the same tree from this side. The tree changes from where you stand.”
The little boy thought, then spoke. “Good sir. The tree never changes. The wind blows, the clouds come and go, night and day cover the tree, but the tree is always here and always has been, in my life and before. The change is not in the tree. It is in you and your crystal.”
A wind arose. The tree stood. The boy remained. The man followed the wind.