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The Oak - Part 2

Updated on January 11, 2013

Ankure had seated himself on the bench, still looking around and a bit suspicious, He said, “You explain yourself, and intently, I will listen.” The oak began, “I can hear better than you humans can, and I can learn your languages quickly too! I’ve been here for four hundred years or so. Many people have passed this way over the years, but I haven’t been able to talk too many.” Curious about this statement, Ankure asked, “If only a few have been able to hear you, what made the difference from all the other people?” The oak remained silent for a moment, “They were all sick or dying; what is your state of health now?”

Slightly shaken by the oak’s revelatory answer and question, Ankure answered, (in a half way sarcastic voice) “Now I am very much comforted; I learned just a while ago, that I have lung cancer.” “Will it take your life?” the oak asked. Ankure answered, “I’m not knowing yet, how bad it is. I have a tumor that is small now and they will be testing it to see how bad.”

“I’m sorry; maybe it won’t be as bad as it could be. By the way, what is your name? We’ve been carrying on with other conversation; I forgot to ask.” said the oak. “I’m Ankure Patel and he asked in return, “Do you have a name?” “Oh yeah, sure I do. The first name the native Cherokee called me was, Adahi Ataya, which means young oak and then later they called me Adohi Ataya, which means, forest oak and then Gawoniha, which means, talker and then some even referred to me as Nuda Ataya, which means, crazy oak, -- -- just call me Ataya! Some of the white men that came along later, called me firewood, -- hah, just a little pun there, I made a little funny.” “Ah hah, good one,” said Ankure.

Ankure asked, “How have you survived so long and nothing happened to you? You have been here in this place so long.”

“Yeah, I don’t do a lot of traveling around.” Ankure chuckled, shaking his head at the answer. “When I was a sapling, this place was forest for as far as could be seen in any direction. The natives were the only people here at that time; their small village was over there, toward the downtown area. A few game trails were the only thing that you could call traffic in those days.”

Ankure sat looking down at the sidewalk with his lips pursed together. “What are you thinking about so intently Ankure?” asked Ataya. “I was thinking about how much you have seen and all the people that have passed beneath you, and soon I may be one more, just another part of history!” “ Well, that is probably going to be true if you die young or if you become an old man and die. It’s very likely I’ll outlive you by many years; some of us oaks are over a thousand years old. Being I’m protected by this city and my size and all amaze most people, I don’t worry so much about being firewood anytime soon. Over the years I have survived a few close calls, being struck by lightning a few times and one of my limbs got so big it broke and they amputated it, that’s the only kindling I’ve gave up over the years. Now short of a major lightning strike or taking a direct hit from a big ass tornado, I’m not worried about being sawdust anytime soon, but I’m sensing you are becoming a bit apprehensive about your future.”

“Yes I am, I guess anyone would be,” answered Ankure; “until it’s hitting you in the face, you’re not as much thinking about it. I have never been thinking of these kinds of thoughts before. The doctor hasn’t said I’m a dead man yet, but until the tests are coming back; I cannot help thinking I am, you know with the law of Murphy and everything.” Ankure sat quietly for a moment and said, “I am still curious how you can only talk to sick people. Does this bother you greatly or do you like talking much too people?”

“Oh I love talking to people, when I can! I’m not sure if it would be good for them or me, to be able to talk at will to them, one of us would probably talk my bark off. Now, as far as how I’m able only to talk to sick people, I can explain it, but it’s somewhat complicated.” “O.k.,” said Ankure, “please tell me.” “Well,” began Ataya, “you see it’s as if we; you and I and all things give off a frequency, if you will, and this is how we hear and speak, but the frequency you humans hear by is just slightly different, so normally you wouldn’t hear me, but when people are sick, or sometimes in a mentally stressful state, it changes enough so you can hear me.”

“I see,” said Ankure “Is that what they mean, when they are saying, crazy people are hearing things?” A thought came to Ankure while he pondered this. “Can all the other trees and bushes be hearing me too?” “Yes, technically.” “So, all these other trees are hearing our conversation?” “Yes,” said Ataya, “If they can see you and want to hear, they can; most don’t, most of the time.”

Ankure hesitated for a moment with puckered lips and a thoughtful frown on his face and asked, “What do you mean, if it can see me and wants too? You can control what you hear?” “You see, I can hear at longer distances than you can and also be heard farther, if I can see you, I can speak to you, just like I can communicate with other trees the same way. I can also choose how much I hear; unlike humans two trees can talk without others hearing; that’s more a code of honor, speak when spoken too, but if I want to address a group of trees, as I’m looking around at them, they will hear me. It’s a spiritual thing, if you will. We don’t talk to each other that much, there’s not a lot to say, especially among us in the same proximity to each other, but we will join in a song together or listen to each other sing.” Ankure said, “I am liking talking to you of these things very much and a lot you have seen, Yes?” “Yes, I almost have a photographic memory.”

Ankure said, “I must go now, but if I come back, will you tell me more things?” Ataya said, “Come back and I’ll tell you more, and show you special things.”

Ankure walked away from Ataya for a couple of blocks; he was hundreds of feet away. He turned and looked at Ataya looming in the distance, he knew humanly from this distance that there was no way that he could hear someone’s voice, but he made sure no one was around him at the moment and said, “You are nothing but a giant piece of firewood.” He waited a moment without hearing a response and as he had turned and started to walk away. He heard Ataya say, “The next time your near me, I’m gonna drop a stick on you.” He didn’t bother turning around and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” “Ok, goodbye for now.” responded Ataya.

Copyright©2009 Mit Kroy


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