I gasped for life, knowing full well at that moment I should have been dead.
I sucked up madly every last droplet from whatever source the water had come from. I could no longer remember how long it had been since I had last had a drink. In order to survive I let myself fall into a deep coma, feeling the edges of my roots and fingers shriveled.
Now awake, I assessed in horror the damage the drought had caused me. Almost all of my leaves had fallen out. I was left nearly naked, my bark now compressing against me so tightly it had begun to crack. However the largest damage had been done onto my great limb. I could no longer feel it and realized in horror it had turned grey and died. The pain came then as my entire body ached, lamenting in agony for more water. The pain was on the verge of driving me insane and I needed a distraction.
The only ones I could find were the terrifying facts.
First was that the water was gone. Its reason for disappearing was unknown to me. A new source had saved me from the brink of death. Where had it come from? I needed to know this answer. Because the fact that was more clear to me than any other was that I was running out of time.
I never knew my parents, though I remember their words back when I was a mere sapling. A strange voice in the recesses of my core that spoke, “grow strong my boy, the sun is out” or in warning saying, “beware of the morning chill.” I took heed to all of their advice, and survived the changing seasons. I wonder now if they would have been proud of me? Had I done well by them growing up into the oak tree that I am. I accepted the fact that I’ll never have an answer.
There was this time though, after a great storm, when all the trees open their bodies to the world, releasing the scents of refreshed life, that I thought I could smell the scent of a sweetness that was unique. It was familiar to me, and I spend many hours dreaming it was the scent of my mother.
Another splash of water fell unto the soil next to me, and I went at it wildly, making sure to drink it all in before any wretched weed could steal it. The last droplet sucked into my roots, I began to look for the water’s source. It had been a full day since I awoke fully, the night in between had been filled with endless thoughts of more water and memories before it had gone away. Back then the sun had always shone brightly, and I grew out my limbs proudly. Now it was always dim, and I found few moments when its light could nourish me.
However in my state of survival I took everything into consideration. The sun was behind me now, the little bit of heat comforting my chilled bark. I could hear only the occasional chirp of a bird.
These facts let me know the water came in the hours before dusk. I dared not hope that the water would come again but I knew I would need it to if I was survive. Once more I found the facts of my situation filling more of me than the water I needed. The water came in the afternoon. The sun had gone dim. But so have all the sounds around me. Why? Where have all the smells gone? Where is the water coming from? Would I live to find out? I counted. As hopeless as it sounds and as cruel as it truly was I counted the moments until the next douse of water. I had to know how long it would take until the next splash would come.