The Last Dream of an Old Oak

The Last Dream of an Old OakThe Last Dream of an Old Oak

There stood a large oak tree not far from the shore. The tree was 365 years old. Each year to it was like a day. The tree only slept in the winter time.

It was the time of the Ephemera, the little flies that only lived for a day. One spoke to the tree. The tree and the fly got to talking about life and how long it was. The fly was not sorry for its short life. It experienced many moments of joy and wonder in its life. It was fascinated by all the things, even if it was only to last for a day.

Each year the tree would speak to Ephemera and each year the same questions would be asked. The tree. One winter the tree went to sleep and had a dream. It dreamt of the old times when it had been younger. It dreamt of noble people riding through the forests on a hunt. It dreamt of young lovers carving their names into its bark. It dreamt of Christmas time that was happening around it. The entirety of the tree’s life passed before it in this dream.

The tree soon dreamt it was passing upwards. It was going upwards into the sky, along with it were all the other plants the tree loved so much.

As the tree slept, a terrible storm arose and ripped the tree out by its roots. The tree was dead in its three-hundred and sixty-fifth year. It had died when it dreamt of rising upward. The sailors who used it as a landmark mourned the tree. The tree was lifted up at last and knew nothing of what had befallen it.

Observations

I’ve heard of flies only living for a day, but I’ve never heard of them called Ephemera. The flies this story is speaking of are Mayflies and as it turns out they belong to the order Ephemeroptera, thus why they are called Ephemera in this story. Mayflies live longer than a day. Insects have multiple stages in their life. One of the stages only lasts for a day or two, thus why people say they only live for a day, but that’s not true. They come out of one stage of life, which was longer, and go on to another stage of life. Their sole existence is not simply a day.

quote-the-lifetime-of-a-human-being-is-measured-by-decades-the-lifetime-of-the-sun-is-a-hundred-carl-sagan-47-29-13Themes

The tree and the Mayfly both had full lives. Just because the tree lived longer than the Mayfly doesn’t mean the tree experienced more. The tree and the Mayfly both experienced what they were supposed to experience. Even though the tree’s life still seems long to us, the tree did tree normal tree things in a normal time span for a tree. I will say that three-hundred and sixty-five years is quite a long time for an oak tree to be alive. This tree was older than some.

A life is a life and it doesn’t really matters what kind of being you are. You live your allotted lifespan according to what type of creature you are. You do the things you do in that time period as a human or a fish or a mushroom. Just because humans don’t live as long as giant sea turtles, doesn’t mean our lives are any less great.

Overall

Quantity is great and all, but it’s all about your quality.

Weigh In

Do you think other animals feel bad about having shorter lives?

Do we feel bad over childhood death because there were only a few years lived or because the child never did all the things humans normally do? Or is it both?

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