The Time of Growth

“I’ve always wondered what a story would sound like if it was told from the point [of view] of tree. That’s essentially what this story is, a tree telling it’s journey of how it grew.” -Jessica Objartel


"If the Stones Could Talk" by Joe Sweeney, 11th grade

“This was a shot I took in Ireland 4 years ago. We stopped by this abandoned church and its accompanying graveyard on our way to Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher. I really enjoyed the imagery of the stony chapel against the verdant green backdrop. The odd quiet that seemed to envelop the area while the wind whistled in my ears was peace at its best.” -Joe Sweeney

At first I had only known darkness, the warmth of the earth, and the coldness of the water that quenched my thirst. Then, after what I assume was time had passed, I came to know the vast, never ending sky; the beauty of the sun as it shined down and warmed my entire being; and the chill of the wind that feels like it’s passing through every fiber of my being. Experiencing all that for the first time was truly an enlightening experience, and it was a good thing I thought so too, since I would no longer experience the darkness again; except for the darkness of night, of course.

This was also my first encounter with another living being. This being was quite an odd sight to behold, with their two long appendages attached to their upper body flailing about, as two more appendages that supported their entire structure pranced around me in excitement for some reason. Could the creature be excited from my arrival? I quickly tossed this thought away as being absurd. I mean, how could anything be thrilled over the sight of something insignificant like myself? However, I soon reevaluated my decision of this when the little creature eagerly directed the attention of a larger, similar looking creature towards me and squealed with excitement at how fast I had arrived. The larger creature lowered themself to the height of the smaller one and stared at me for quite some time before letting out a hearty laugh and saying that I’d grow bigger than a mountain in no time.

My first thought about that statement was that is was a fairly optimistic one. Was it even a possibility for me to grow to that size? This, in turn, led me to my second thought of what the larger creature said about me growing in no time. How could anything occur in no time if time was required for anything to happen? It was all a very strange concept to me.

After that encounter, I became curious to what exactly time was. Did it ever speed up? Does it ever slow down to crawl? Or does it stay the constant rate for all eternity? How long would it take for me to grow to the size of a mountain, and if it was even possible for me to do so. Could I shorten the length of time it would normally take for me to grow large, even if it wasn’t mountain sized? Or would it be the same no matter what I did?

Well, no amount of speculating was going to solve my questions if I never tried to do anything to figure it out for myself. I directed all of my energy to see how fast I could grow to be close, if not exactly mountain size. I used all of my strength to stretch my body towards to warmth of the sun; I stretched my limbs deep into the earth until they reached the unbreakable rock at the bottom, and even then they still went a little farther. When the sun had set and the moon shone high in the sky, I continued to reach out for it’s cold light, since it still gave me the energy to grow.  After what I assumed was quite a length of time had passed, I realized I had grown to be a substantial height. I also noticed that many small creatures had begun to accumulate all across my body. They built structures from twigs and mud throughout my intertwined limbs; they found openings in my coarse body and hid acorns and blueberries within their corridors.

Some creatures simply came for a moment before leaving with the calling wind; even the small creature who still squealed at the sight of me came and ascended high into my limbs that reached for the sky. However, the small creature wasn’t quite as tiny as they once had been and had grown quite significantly themselves, but no where close to the caliber of growth that I have reached. Their realization of this only made them laugh gleefully as they pronounced that I still hadn’t grown to match the size of a mountain despite all this time. Ten years to be exact.

While I wasn’t quite sure what exactly a year was, I assumed it was quite a length of time due to how much I have grown; and despite being told I had not met my original goal of being mountain sized I was not disappointed with myself. I had instead become a home for many small and even smaller creatures. I had grown enough to see most of the world around me and grew closer to the sky and the warmth of the sun. I was even able to amuse the small creature that encouraged me to grow. I’d say all of that was worth accomplishing in that length of time, which was my final thought before I, once again, stretched my limbs towards the warmth of the sun to see what else time could accomplish for me.