People who talk to the trees …
The female hummed awhile, with a radiant expression of happiness. Mirrortac smiled at her and she twirled around in response, like a carefree child, stopping by the tall trunk of one of the forest giants to hug and stroke its bark exterior.
‘Grow strong my brother!’ she shouted.
When he saw this Mirrortac scratched his head.
‘Why speak to the trees? They cannot hear you!’ he said to the female.
She only blinked at him and laughed. ‘Do you not speak to your timber brothers, cuddly one? They may not possess ears but they know what you tell them. Have you ears for them, Mirrortac?’
‘How then do they hear and what tongue do they possess?’ he asked, discomforted by the rumble of laughter within the crowd.
‘They hear you as they hear the air that brushes by your face, cuddly one. They speak to you with the silence of green and sweet smelling things. They speak with their yielding arms that collects the blue above, they speak with the calm dispense of forgotten leaves and blossoms; they speak with the breaking of the light and the oozing of their living sap while they hear your footfall upon the earth that covers their roots. They hear the purpose of your heart beating against their leaves and tall trunks. They hear your Love Mirrortac, and ask nothing more. This is their tongue my friend. Be listening and let them know your heart’s ways. They are patient beyond even any of Plumer-Ra.’
‘It be clear she has eaten too much fermented fruit!’ Merftac’s voice said.
Mirrortac chuckled. ‘I would agree with you.’
‘Now who talks with themselves?’ The female mused.
Mirrortac moved on, leaving the female to her tree-loving ways. Her words were riddles in this riddle-some place. Perhaps she was right. The trees did seem to communicate in a feeling kind of manner. High in the canopy branches swayed to the breeze and a shower of yellowing leaves drifted down upon them. Shubek pointed up into one of the branches. There, preening its snow-white plumage was a bird wearing a flamboyant crown of soft filamentous feathers that fell away from its head in a beard of fluff. Its powder blue beak poked out and tiny beads of eyes peeked through between the filaments. The bird surveyed them from its lofty perch, waving an equally flamboyant tail that streamed down in a white spray. As they walked beneath it, the sun picked out aquamarine highlights from its gleaming white form. Mirrortac examined the craning silent form of the bird and asked Shubek what it was named. ‘Glistening. She is named Glistening,’ and the bird seemed to nod at Mirrortac in recognition as if to say ‘Yes, I am as he has called me. Be at peace my friend.’ Mirrortac continued to peer up at the bird, admiring its beauty and wishing he could touch its softness.
The Glistening stared back as if to say: ‘Why should you want to touch me? Do not erfins eat birds?’
Mirrortac shook his head, feeling an inexplicable pang of guilt. He muttered to himself: ‘I do not eat creatures of beauty.’ and the bird cocked its head sideways at him.
‘What is beauty?’ came the unspoken reply.
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