Family Tree by Monica Zwikstra, illustrated by Richard Bartrop
Monica Zwikstra was born on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario, Canada. She lives in Southern Alberta with her husband and three cats. When not writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, playing the autoharp and being an active member of the community.
Branches and leaves reached to the floor and continued to grow. Arms stiffened, the body stretched upward.
“How am I supposed to get people to change? You haven’t been able to, what makes you think I can?”
“You’re young, you understand this world better than me. I’ve been the Green Man for 300 years. Computers, social media, cities, it’s so different. People used to know and understand nature and work with her. Today they can’t hear her or me.”
“Computers, social media, cities, it’s so different.”
The entire building shook this time. The floor split open and Sam saw a basement full of roots. The Green Man began to grow taller and thicker, his voice weaker.
“No time left Sam, it’s up to you to make them change and show the way. Remember you too shall return to Gaia someday. Tell your children — ” His voice faded as his head broke through the ceiling and roof into the sky. His hair, lifting, spread to fill the sky, forming branches in full leaf, a canopy of exquisite beauty.
The vine holding Sam in place fell away. The sound of sirens came from outside. The building shook once more and Sam coughed on the dust from the shattered roof, shredded floor and crumbled walls. The roof started to groan and Sam bolted for what had been the entrance. He stumbled and climbed over the rubble, then tumbled out onto the street as the roof gave a final thunderous growl and collapsed. Sam lay panting from exertion and panic amid the dust and grit, looking up at the tree spreading its massive branches across the sky.