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Haidji, author of SG Suicide Game, Life into Mist, Fancy & Adriaan, Harables – Short Stories 1 and Ines’ Words now brings us Harables – Short Stories 2, with fifteen new stories. Each story showcases Haidji’s unique voice and imagery, including “The Gondola Walker”, “Lob’s Castle”, “The Blue Spot”, “Final Destination” and “Candles”. True to Haidji’s form, this book is beautiful and magical. You’ll want to read each story more than once, to uncover all Haidji’s meanings. Entering Haidji’s world, you will find hope, love and wonderful mysteries.
The Pine Tree
White over white, snow covers the landscape while infinite new snowflakes are falling from the sky, increasing the amount of white for the viewer’s eyes.
The only other colors between all the white and bluish-white ice were the yellow light inside a house window and the green top of an old Pine Tree situated halfway up to the top of the Mountain.
It was as would the Pine Tree be watching a house placed halfway between itself and the end of the Mountain, looking inside its window.
All the Pine Tree can see through the window are kids, decorating a Christmas tree with several ornaments. John and Katie, his younger sister, joking, teasing each other and feeling very busy decorating the tree, while their mother brings several delicacies to the table.
It is almost Christmas Eve.
Looking through the window, John can see all way up to the top of the Mountain, and feels as would the big Pine Tree, halfway up between the house and the top of the Mountain, be watching him. For John, the Pine Tree was like the Mountain Guardian. Not that there were no other trees – there were so many that the boy couldn’t count them – not just because of being five years old and able to count only up to fifty, but because they seemed to be infinite, like the hairs on his head. One day he tried to count his own hair, but he couldn’t. They were more than fifty. The trees are more than fifty too, so they are a thousand, or infinite.
This Pine Tree is the highest of all the other trees on this mountain and probably the oldest one around. Probably 1000 years old, John used to think, for John, able to count until 50 but only with effort and feeling tired afterwards, 1000 and infinite was the same. The real age of the Pine Tree was around 2024 years; it wasn’t a Pine Pinus longaeva, the longest-lived life form on Earth whose oldest known individual is already more than 5000 years old, but it was an ancient tree and for John there wasn’t much difference between 60, 1000, 2024 or 5000.
We feel the measure of things according to how high we can count.
The weight, we feel, according to how much we can carry.
All that is over our capacity to understand turns into infinite, no matter how old we are.
Like our problems, unless we make the effort to understand them, the scarier, bigger and heavier they are.
Once we learn to understand them, we can find a solution and, in case there is none, it is at least easier to live with them knowing their real sizes.
The Pine Tree observes the house year after year; the light it sees through the window is the only light in the middle of a dark winter evening. “I would like to experience a Christmas night inside of this house”, thinks the Tree. “Even if afterwards I could never come back to the top of the Mountain and watch the kids rolling down it with sleds or skis. Every year, something magical seems to happen at this house. They all sing, they are all happy and they wait for a certain Santa Claus, whose arrival I always miss.”
Wondering about what could be so special happening inside this house – to justify the sacrifice of a baby tree every year passing by, to celebrate love and life – the Pine Tree tried to move, as would he be able to walk down the hill and knock on the door.
But fixed in the Earth by its roots, the Pine Tree was not able to walk down and see things more closely, so he kept watching the house from the distance, seeing only the yellow square spot called a window, and only a small part of this family’s life.
Before the end of this day, John decided to climb the Mountain again and to go down on his sled.
Once more, stopping by the Pine Tree, he looked up to the big tree, remembering how he used to sit in its shadow in summertime, reading a story or just running in circles around it, singing, screaming or making noises from some foreign language available only in his imagination.
The Pine Tree seemed to be so lonely now, in the middle of the snow. Even surrounded by ‘infinite’ other trees, it seemed to be lonely and kind of sad.
“Oh, I would like to take you home with me! You would love to see Santa! Not that I could ever see him, only grown-ups can see him. But you are so big; you would see him for sure! You look so lonely here,” said John.
Unexpectedly, John hugged the Pine Tree. Or part of it…it was bigger than the circumference his arms could make. So he made a circle around it, hugging it all, sliding his arms around it to make sure it was a complete hug. He repeated it 3 times; just to make sure the hug went all the way around. Going around all of it with his arms. It felt good.
“Merry Christmas, Pine Tree! I hope you can see Santa.”
A pinecone fell, and some sap fell after it, onto the snow.
Falling over the cold snow, the sap turned into the shape of a snow star.
John picked up the tar and the pinecone, and the wind, passing by through the pine tree branches, seemed like laughter.
John brought the star home and placed it on the top of the Christmas tree. He gave the pinecone to Katie and she painted it with different colors, placing it somewhere on the tree.
As the kids placed these new ornaments on the Christmas tree, something. Happened:
From halfway up to the top of the Mountain, the Pine Tree could now see the whole room, and be inside the house, being part of the Christmas night: part of the tree’s soul came in the frozen star. The Pine Tree could now feel the warmness and peace of Christmas, and be part of it.
Maybe the Pine Tree saw Santa; maybe it didn’t see him.
But it was able to be part of Christmas inside the house, as it had wanted to be. Without having to die for it, or being ripped out of the earth to enter the house.
It is possible for a soul to be in two (or more) places at the same time?
We can’t rip ourselves out of where we created roots and be everywhere.
Many of us are in several places at Christmas time; we are in all the places we send a card, a present, a thought, good wishes and/or love. We are in the past, as memories of the ones we cared for; and in the future, depending on what we do now and in the present time.
Like the Pine Tree, we are guardians of those we love, taking care of them, without losing our own lives and roots.
Through love, we are able to be everywhere, in this magical time called Christmas Time.