The shadows grew flustered with color. Their depths became lurid, pulsating with hidden meaning. Trees shifted nervously as they felt their bark become an agonizing skin. One's suffering was particularly dreadful. The cold air, fragrant with the earth's seasonal decay, had comforted it for hundreds of years. But suddenly it had become humid, drumming with the activity of invisible fingers – fingers that stripped the bark away, that polished the raw flesh until it was smooth, rounded and white.
Roots recoiled out of the ground. Branches merged together and lost their splintered netting: birds, carrying building materials in their mouths, flew elsewhere. The canopy of leaves exploded, tearing apart the living embroidery. And the sun illuminated what the modest trees had been hiding.
The surviving buds and leaves wafted down, settling on the white figure that was stiff with pain and the fear of separation from the forest and the maidens of Artemis. Knots in the bark disappeared except for two – and they became parallel and uniform: liquid, living galaxies of light. This chosen unfortunate felt its sap become thin and quick, running down a filigree of paths that marked a fleshy interior.
When the trunk split, it cried. And the sound drove the homeless birds flying through the torn ceiling. Around each piece there were vines and lianas, grasping fruits and spinning tendrils. It dragged behind it the emblems of its former life: clouds, mangroves, tropics, forests coniferous and evergreen.
However, its new circulation, its sparks that seemed to fire everywhere and nowhere, were insistent. And it walked forward, poised and praised, marked with triumph and transition.