Though it was dark last night when we climbed into this nest, I never realised we’d gone right to the top of the tree until I woke. There must have been cloud, too, because I didn’t see a single star. But when I woke this morning, I awoke bathed in the glow of a blood red sun. It was a fantastic sight, a scene I had to write about quickly before my mind tried to convince me it was some brilliant dream instead of reality.
This tree towers over most of the forest canopy and it’s like being adrift on a great sea of green that stretches off all around us. Off to our right the mountains are a grey line on the horizon. They look high, snow capped in places. Here and there small yellow birds skim across the canopy cutting swathes through the clouds of glittering insects that rose with the dawn.
Yet, strangely, with all this life, there was little sound. I could barely hear the chirp of the birds or the hum of the insects. Everything, even my own breathing, was strangely subdued.
Oh but how I wish I could photograph that scene so Maya could someday share this with me.
Stunned by this magnificent sunrise, it was a few minutes before I noticed that Armbranch was awake. His face seemed infused with this radiance. His features were glowing a deep, luxurious red that made me briefly wonder if he was adapting to some different environment like I’d seen him do a few times before. He wasn’t. It was simply the sunlight. Not only that, he was smiling a smile I’d never seen on his face before. It was a broad, lazy smile, a grin of absolute contentment I doubt the worst of this place could blemish.
When he saw me his eyes widened so slowly it set my pulse racing. Viewing a new dawn in the treetops hadn’t caused this. No. It was something else, something I knew I should recognise but couldn’t put my finger on.
Then I saw the bunch of orange fruit in his hands, and understood everything.
He was… stoned, out of it, doped up, or whatever you wanted to call it.
I wouldn’t say his voice was slurred. But it was different. Low and quivering, it reminded me of the way he sometimes spoke to the trees. I could understand it, though. He was remarking about how the skyline looked more like the inside of a great fruit. At first I thought it was a joke. Then I saw the half eaten fruit in his hand. It was deep red, a deep blood red that matched the red ball of sun perfectly.
He told me we weren’t going anywhere today. We needed to rest. This statement shocked me even more than his appearance because I’d rarely heard him wanting to rest before. And certainly not for a full day. I guess the laptop battery wasn’t the only thing that needed recharging. Armbranch did, too. And me, of course.
When he handed me one of the fruits, I didn’t hesitate to take a bite. It was about the size of a peach, but its consistency was thicker and reminded me more of a raw potato. It didn’t taste much like anything. A bit tangy, that’s all. But, somehow, even before I’d swallowed the first bite, this fruit had triggered something powerful in my brain that made everything around me look so brilliant and pure.
I’m getting dizzier and dizzier now. That’s why I need to write this down fast. If I don’t, I’m afraid I won’t have the presence of mind to do it later. Armbranch is laughing. Yes. Laughing like a crazy child. Wow! His mouth is opening so wide I can see right down his throat. It’s like looking down into a deep mineshaft and…