Once upon a time, a young girl named Amy, was on her way to school. But she was running late, and so she decided to take a short cut. A short cut through a forest. It is a beautiful forest with immense trees, lush green grass, a simple dirt path, and the pleasing melodious sounds of wildlife. She enjoyed listening to the wind in the trees and the songs of the birds. She also heard running water nearby, and could smell the fresh muddy grass.
“I need to run late a lot more.” She mused to herself, as she strode among the trees.
All of a sudden, a voice called her name.
“What the?” Amy looked around. But she didn’t see anyone.
“Amy. Down here.”
Amy lowered her eyes and looked around. She finally saw a little sapling seemingly waving at her.
“Did you call me?” Amy asked it. Couldn’t have, trees don’t talk.
“Yes. I did.”
Amy’s eyes grew wide in astonishment. I’ve lost my mind.
“OK, please stop calling my name. You’re freaking me out.” Amy told him. Then she knelt before him. “How do you know my name anyway?”
The young sapling waved happily at her. “I’ve heard your friends call you that.”
“Do you speak to them?”
“They can’t hear me.” The sapling’s little branches droop a little.
“Why not?” she asked.
“They’re not very good listeners.” The sapling’s little branches folded like he was crossing his arms.
Amy laughed. “Won’t argue with you there.”
The little sapling perked up. “Will you do me a favor?”
“If I can.”
“Will you climb that tree,” he pointed at limb at it. “and trim back his branches a little, so that I can get some sun too?”
Amy looked up. “Way up there?”
“Yes. I know its high up, but I won’t grow if I don’t get some sunshine.”
“Ok, but can you wait till after school.” Amy looked at her watch. “I’m really late as it is.”
“OK, sure. Thank you.” The little sapling waved happily and blew her a kiss with his leaf.
Amy smiled at him and blew him a kiss as well.
After school, Amy came back thru the forest carrying a pair of snips and a water can. She climbed the big oak tree whose branches were overshadowing the little sapling. She cut a few branches, but not too many. Just enough for the sun to reach the little sapling. And then she slowly and carefully climbed back down. Next, she watered the little sapling and he woke up. The little sapling reached he limbs towards the sun and enjoyed the little shower that Amy gave him.
“Thank you so much.” The little sapling wiggled happily. “You have no idea how good the sun feels.”
Amy smiled at him, as it looked like he’d grown a bit in the new sunlight.
“You’re welcome.” And she patted him very gently with her index finger. “You’re also very cute little tree.”
The little tree puffed his chest out in happiness. “I’ll be a big tree someday.”
Amy laughed out loud. “I’m sure you will.” Amy noticed the sun moving across the floor of the forest. “I have to go now. I’ll see you later.” She stood up to leave, but then asked. “What is your name?”
“Give me one.”
“Oren?” the little sapling thought about it.
“It means lofty tree that gives off tremendous sound.”
“Oh, you do believe in me, don’t you.” The sapling laughed.
“Goodbye Oren.” Amy smiled.
“Goodbye Amy.” Waved the little tree. “and thank you for your help.”
From that day on, every day Amy cut through the forest to visit her little friend. Some days, she was able to stop and talk to him. But some days, she was with her friends and the little sapling wouldn’t talk to her at all. However, one day, there was a terrible terrible storm. The skies were dark and the clouds were black. The thunder roared and lightning crashed. Amy, warm at home, suddenly remembered her little sapling friend and rushed out into the night with an umbrella.
“Oren! Oren! Are you Ok?” Amy asked, as she set up the umbrella to keep the little sapling dry.
The little sapling woke up. “Hello Amy.” But then he got serious. “What are you doing out here in this storm. You might get sick. I would feel very bad if you got sick and died.”
“Me? I was worried about you.”
“Worried about me?” The little sapling asked, slightly confused. “Why?”
“Well, you’re a …” Amy suddenly realized what she was doing. “a tree. Who is probably enjoying the rain.”
Oren laughed at her. “Well, yes and no.”
“I just think of you so much as a friend, that I wanted to protect you.”
“You have a very noble heart. But you can’t protect me from everything.”
“What do you mean?”
“Storms can make you stronger. For me, storms cause me to reach my roots deep into the ground so that I can stand stronger and longer later on. If you protect me from the storm…”
“Then I’m stunting your growth.” Amy realized. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I love that you love me.” He smiled at her, and waved his leaf so as to throw a drop of water at her.
“Oh you don’t want to start a water fight with me.” She chuckled at him.
“Go home Amy. I will be fine.” He smiled brightly at her. “Thank you for your kindness and compassion.”
Amy kissed her finger and gently placed it on his head.
“Grow strong little Oren. And I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“I’ll be here.” He promised.
True to her word, after the storm and after school, Amy sought out her little friend. And this time she had a surprise for him.
“What’s this?” Oren asked her. “It smells wonderful.”
“I’m glad you think so.” Amy laughed. “It’s mulch and it smells horrible to me.”
“Oh Mulch!” The little sapling wiggled its limbs. “Thank you Amy. You’re the best.”
“No problem.” Amy knelt down and gently laid the mulch around him. She patted it down, but not to tightly. “Anything for my best friend.”
“Who are you talking to?” Amy’s friend asked her, as she walked up on her.
“Oh my god, now your naming plant life.” Amy’s friend grabbed her by the arm. “Come on, let’s go to the mall. I need new clothes and plateful of chicken fried rice.”
“Ok. Ok. But what where you stamp your big feet.” Amy dusted herself off and allowed her friend to pull her away.
“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt Groot.” Scoffed Amy’s friend.
“Groot?” Amy thought about it, and then she laughed. “Nah, He’s an Oren.”
Four years later, Amy is graduating from high school and she stopped by to see Oren.
“How do I look?” Amy asked, and she twirled around for him to see.
“You look wonderful, and you’ve grown so much.” Oren told her.
“So have you. You have so many branches now. And you’re taller than me.” Amy smiled at him, and then she frown.
“What’s wrong?” Oren asked.
“Um…I came to tell you that today is my last time visiting you.” She sighed heavily, and then continued. “I’m graduating from high school today and I’m going away to college.”
“Oh?” Amy looked at him quizzically.
“Amy, I’m a tree.” Oren’s branches curled to point to himself. “God willing, I would outlive you anyway.”
“I know. But I’m going to miss you anyway.” Amy stepped forward and hugged him. “You’re my best friend.”
“What about the noisy ones?” He chuckled at her.
“Aw, they’re just good friends. You were there for me when I was happy. You listened to me when I had complains. You comforted me when I was heartbroken.”
“Yeah, Jack was a jerk.” Oren chuckled.
“Hey, we don’t speak his name.” Amy growled.
“My lips are sealed.” Oren promised. Then He reached out a branch and touched her shoulder. “Have fun at college, be a good girl, and don’t forget about me while you’re on spring break.”
“Not a chance.” Amy smiled, and lovingly touched the branch that laid on her shoulder.
“Goodbye, Amy.” Oren withdrew his branch.
“See you later, Oren.” Amy waved, as she left.
Four years later, Amy returned.
Oren woke up and looked to his left.
“Over here, Amy.”
Amy came and stood before him.
“Oh my god, how you’re grown.” Amy looked him up and down. “You’re three times taller than you used to be.”
“And you are more mature than you used to be.” Oren smiled at her.
“I have a question for you.”
“Really? Ask away.”
“Are you a treant?” she asked, as she looked him up and down. “I learned about them in an English Writing class.”
“Ha-Ha-Ha, no. I’m a wood elf.” Oren puffed up in pride.
“What?” Amy’s eyes bugged out at him. “Seriously?”
“Yes. Would you like to see me?”
“OK, back up and I’ll open the door.”
Amy backed up a bit and waited with anticipation. For so long, she and Oren had been friends. And now for the first time, she was going to meet the real him.
A light shown from deep in the tree and a portal opened between its trunk. A tall young man about twenty-five stepped through. He had sandy colored hair, apple green eyes, and a notably lean but strong physique. Amy noted that he reminded her of an elegant gentleman archer. He smiled at her.
“Hello Amy, my name is Oren.” He gave her a gentlemanly bow.
“Holy…” Amy’s eyes bugged out, and her heart skipped a beat. “You look amazing.”
“Well, you did take very good care of me.” He winked at her.
Amy blushed. “I would never have imagined…”
“Really? You run into talking trees often do you?” He chuckled at her.
“Will you marry me?” Amy asked him immediately.
“HA-HA-HA, what are you a Disney princess?”
“Nope, just staking my claim before someone else does.” She laughed at him.
Oren knelt before her. “I will always be yours. From the first day I met you, I knew you were special.”
Amy could no longer hold herself together. She drew him up to her and kissed him. Then she realized something.
“You’ve never seen the outside world have you?”
“No.” He looked around and then up into the sky. “Here has been my home for years.”
Amy grabbed him hand and pulled him behind her. “Then come with me. I have so much world to show you.”
“I would follow you anywhere Amy.” He laughed, as he ran to keep up with her.