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He looked at the oak
Ancient it was
Its girth so broad that if hollow
He could have stood within
His arms stretched out
And not touched it

At first he knew not why it seemed so important to him
Why it had caught his attention
What had made him lose his breath
In a gasp of wonder
But then
A cloud crossed the sun’s path
And in the shadowlight
He saw it

Not it
Seeming frozen in time
Magically grown from the tree surrounding her
Her arms stretched high to become the two main branches
Her legs flowing into the trunk
So her feet were lost in the roots
Her hair leaves and moss
Sage green
Holly green
Mistletoe green
Her face only seeable in the shadowlight
Eyes closed
Or long dead
He did not know

It unnerved him
How real she looked
As if she were a dryad
In the day sun

She could not be real
A figment of his imagination
A creation of his mind
That in his youth
Had been fertile grounds for myths and fairytales
She was a beautiful will of the wisp
A piece of his imagination
A gift of beauty given for him to see
So he smiled
And went back to work

He raised his axe
Ready to start the cutting
Sad to lose this incidental beauty
But knowing the tree was not his
Only the job to cut it down was

He braced his legs
Swung back his arms
Started the forward swing

And saw her eyes open
When she looked at him
And screamed