The arborist

white window with curtain

It would happen this way. One day would move faster than Hassel. The next day would not move fast enough. Hassel and the day could not move along as two people walk together. Rare was the day when each moved at the same pace. Because this frustrated him, he responded by retreating to his house to a dimly lit room. This allowed him rest and time to think. But his dilemma remained unanswered.

On a particular evening while Hassel slumped in his chair and rested his eyes, a knock on the door interrupted.

Hassel peered through his side window to see who might be knocking. In the moments when time suspends and everyone pauses to wonder, Hassel fixed his eyes on the two trees in his front yard.

“When planted, the good tree, planted in good soil, good light, and receiving proper watering, flourished. As a result, the tree had strong roots, deep and healthy, and its trunk and branches reflected this. Its leaves were full and vibrant. This tree had withstood storms and winds as they came. The second tree, planted in poor soil next to the road where the air was less clean, received less daylight in its location. Hassel thought it could survive well by its own strength but no matter how much this tree strived against its environment, it fell prey to the surroundings. Weak, the tree only revealed something about the ground in which it lived.”

Hassel thought he was dreaming but quickly turned his attention back to his visitor. The man at his door seemed odd, a bit disheveled and dressed in loose, wrinkled clothes. He had unkempt hair. His glasses were crooked and his hat cocked to one side. He wore two different boots with unmatched socks.

Hassel Hovel answered the knock and peered at the man standing there. With a quizzical look, he wondered at his visitor.

“Are you Hassel Hovel?” “I am.”

“Mr. Hovel, I am the city arborist. I am here to explain your dilemma.”

“Are you speaking of my trees or of my dilemma with each day? And if my dilemma with the day, how would you know and what do my trees have to do with it?”

“Mr. Hovel, I only heard of your dilemma through a mutual acquaintance. Because I am an arborist, trees tell me much about life. You see the good tree, planted in good soil, thrived in the light and grew toward the light. In this way, it became a better tree. The poor tree, attempting to blend with the poor soil, was overtaken by its environment. On its own, without the light, its beauty was lost. In the light, the good tree made the garden better. Attempting to make the poor soil better, the poor tree withered and will die. Thus is your dilemma. Seek light and you will walk together with the day.”

The man, despite his appearance, seemed confident and his countenance assured Hassel he knew of which he spoke.

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