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Standing Tall

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When most creatures looked at it, all they saw was a tree. That was probably to be expected, since it was a tree. But it wasn't just a tree. That's where the confusion tended to come in.

Oh, once upon a time, it had been nothing more than a tree. At least, it assumed as much. Most trees weren't anything more or less than they appeared, after all, so it seemed like a safe assumption that the same had been true about it at some point.

But now... well, now it remembered. It wasn't certain exactly what that made it, but it was fairly certain most other trees didn't remember things. And that meant it couldn't just be a tree. Well, unless other trees did remember things. It didn't make a habit of talking to the other trees, since it couldn't actually talk, so it supposed that it could be a possibly. Which, if that was the case, maybe that meant it was just a tree after all? Hmm. That was something to think about, perhaps during the cold of winter when it tended to let its thoughts wander.

Well, whatever the case, it was a tree. But there was more to it than the two-legged ones and the winged ones and the climbing ones and other creatures that it walked under it and flew over it and ran along its branches realized. It watched, and it learned, and it remembered. Admittedly, it wasn't entirely certain how it did those things, but that wasn't important. What was important was that it did.

It had seen a lot of things over the years.

Most of the things it had seen were fairly boring, of course. Small winged ones making nests in its branches for a few short months. Climbing ones making their way up its trunk, their furry tails swinging behind them. Yapping four-legged ones raising their legs as they passed by it. The occasional two-legged one resting under the shade of its leaves, small rectangles held in their hands, either the ones with scribbles on their white leaves or the even smaller ones that glowed like the sun.

It noticed them. It even remembered them in an abstract sort of way. But they weren't anything out of the ordinary, so it did not truly focus its attention on them more than in passing.

Other things, though, were more memorable.

Sometimes the large creatures that the two-legged ones traveled inside of – the ones with round legs that spun – rested near it during the day. It ignored them most of the time, except for when they fought. It wasn't quite certain what caused the fights, not like it was when winged ones protected their nests or climbing ones ran from the yapping four-legged ones that chased them, but it couldn't help but watch when they happened.

The round-legged creatures made a loud sound when they fought, a crash like thunder that always got its attention within moments. If they had two-legged ones inside of them, then the two-legged ones would often get out and make noises at each other in the aftermath, as if they were the ones to blame for the fight rather than the round-legged one they rode inside. The sounds they made were gibberish, of course, just like those of all creatures.

Still, it was different. It was memorable.

Speaking of which...

The two-legged one was watching it again. Most of the two-legged ones that the tree saw were not particularly memorable. Some it saw regularly while others only passed by once and never returned, but the majority of them didn't give it any reason to pay close attention. This one, though, was always looking. Always watching. Always there, inside of the large, square not-tree that rested so close to the tree's location.

Unlike most two-legged ones, this was one was interesting. They watched the tree, and the tree watched them back. Even if they probably didn't realize it was doing so.

The wind picked up again, lighting shifting the tree's leaves. It let the wind do so, mostly because it had no way of stopping it from happening in the first place.

After all, it was still a tree.