Seven Fish Tree

By Ron Shaw

General fiction, Religion & spirituality, Literary fiction

Paperback, eBook

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3 mins



And Jesus said, “The person is like a wise fisherman who
cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full
of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a
fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea,
and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good
ears had better listen!”
—Gospel of Thomas 8 ( sv)

Suddenly, I awoke, standing in the middle of a large field... mesmerized, staring at the most magnificent tree I had ever seen. It was massive! The giant tree rested in the center of a large tract of open land composed of softly rolling hills carpeted with lush green grass. Vibrant colorful flowers dotted the Oz-like landscape. In the distance, hardwood trees lined the circular field.
The pastoral track reminded me of those rolling fields I’d seen in a popular children’s TV show a few years earlier, The Teletubies. It was no less striking than the green golf fairways at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. However, the tree demanded the majority of my attention. Obviously, it was hundreds of years old or maybe thousands, judging by its size alone. The trunk’s diameter was the second most impressive aspect of it. Its main lower limbs ran almost perpendicular to the ground for about one-tenth of its height. They grew shorter as they turned more towards the heavens to the top.
I could not adequately guess how tall it was. While standing some thirty yards from it, my neck could go back no farther, gazing at its top. Most of the limbs I could see could have easily been trees on their own. The tree was not symmetrical in appearance, and its obvious weight and size did not seem to burden or strain it. Oddly, the words “pure perfection” came to mind.
Its leaves were just as unique as their host. In sixty two years, I had never seen leaves or a tree like this one. I had no clue what type of a tree it was, but in metro Atlanta, the possibilities were somewhat limited. The leaves were larger and more lush than those of a maple, oak, or pecan, but they were somewhat similar in shape in a combined way. This was strange.
The tree appeared as if it belonged in parts of Africa, the tropics, or rain forests. The color of its leaves reminded me of dark green ivy which is prevalent in Georgia. The leaves glistened beneath the clear fall sky... as if sprinkled with thin ice.
At this time, it struck me as odd none of its leaves had a fall look. Not one leaf had fallen to the ground... neither had any grass changed or flowers in the field shown signs of dying for this time of year and the coming winter.
The size of the tree’s trunk was mind-boggling. If a cross section was provided at its widest point, one would need a lot of time, patience, and a calculator to count the age rings. The bark of the tree was a dark coal color. It was somewhat smooth which was also unusual to me for such a tree. It reminded me of the texture of an elephant’s skin in a coal color with the same glassy appearance of a newly chipped piece of coal.
There was a light afternoon breeze, and as the leaves lazily swayed in the wind, the entirety of the tree glistened with a muted sound like a Georgia pine forest on a windy day… music for your entire soul. In the light favorable breeze, the tree also had a detectable scent which some trees like pine and sassafras have.
I couldn’t quite put a finger on a singular scent, but with my eyes closed and a big nasal inhale, several sweet fragrances came to mind like the aroma of a newborn baby’s skin and hair, the scent of freshly sliced vanilla beans, a juicy ripe pineapple when cut fresh, or the interior of a new car. It was those and more.
As these aromas titillated my nose, palate, and lungs, I heard a slight coughing sound coming from behind me ─ then again louder and a third time even more forceful. It was painful to look away, but I did. A few yards to my rear there was an occupied park bench which I hadn't noticed earlier. A young man was seated there, staring up at this tree. Maybe, he had quietly appeared and sat on the bench while I was studying the huge tree. Nonetheless, I was surprised at both.
Walking over, I stated, “Mind if I have a seat?”
At which, he replied, “Not at all, have a sit.”



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