Look down or look ahead? It was always a problem when walking. If you look ahead it might be that you fall over something and if you look down you do not see what is ahead, so might knock into something. Whilst she was debating what to do, she tripped and fell. There was no way of doing it right. Then something said “ouch”. She was then doubtful, did she walk into someone, did she hurt someone and then
“Be careful, that hurt.”
“Is there someone there?” She looked around and saw only trees and stones and earth with a few insects buzzing around, and she was certain that insects did not talk. She was now standing, brushing off the dirt and grime from her legs and noticed that she had a cut on her knee. It had bled, but now stopped.
“Yes there is someone here” came an answer, although it was a sort of rough voice with a sort of wooden echo. Wood might make a noise if you tap on it, but doesn’t have an echo. Then she remembered she walked into something, it must have been a tree, so she had a closer look.
“Yes it was me you walked into, stupid humans. We were there first and then they had to arrive.”
“Are you a talking tree?”
“Of course I can talk, and today is my birthday, so even humans can hear me, especially if they trip over my roots.”
“But I thought trees were dead material.”
“I beg your pardon. I was standing here before you even thought about taking a walk on a path. Do you see those roots. It took me at least 500 years to build a fixed place here and it is definitely not an odd basis. It is solid, developed over the years.”
“But I tripped over one of your roots and hurt my knee.”
“And what about my root. Do you think it is numb, has no feeling. It shook me down to my timbers, no small thing. I think you should apologise and what about a hug. There are now humans that hug trees. I don’t know where the idea came from, but we quite like it, after all we were here first.”
“You already said that, but what about the scratch on my knee?”
“And what about the scratch on my root. How would you like someone to trample on your feet.”
“That is no comparison, roots are much more stable and stronger than feet.”
“I must say you do have big strong roots.”
“Of course I do, 500 years building work. What about my hug?”
“OK, I will hug a tree.”
“And be careful the next time you take a walk in the forest. We are many trees, and are tired of sore roots after they have been trampled on by human feet.”
“Sorry tree, and I will be more careful the next time I walk through the forest.”
There was no answer and the forest was silent. She could only hear the rustle of the leaves i the wind - or did she hear a sigh as she unfolded her arms from the trunk of the tree?