It’s funny how one thing leads to another. I was cruising along, enjoying the open road, the Harley was purring and the fresh air on my face reminded me of how much I like the outdoors. Connecting with nature is one of the few delights you don’t have to pay for. Then I passed a field where that potato harvester was working away, and I began to think about how it would have been nice to have some fries with the egg salad sandwich I had before I set out. Fries would have complimented the sandwich and beer as a perfect seasonal assortment. Then that set my mind wandering to the joys of summer: warm days, fragrant air, light evenings. I don’t understand people who like winter. It’s cold, dark and depressing. Summer is my favourite of all the seasons and I always feel so much closer to nature. In which case, you would think lying on the grass would suit me just fine. After all, there was a blue sky above me and a full sun toasting my torso. With my eyes closed, I could hear the birds in the trees. I detected a chaffinch, I think. Perhaps it was a wren? I don’t really know, I never was any good at recognising birdsong. I love nature but never bothered to learn about it. Then there are trees; they always confounded me. Especially now.
In fact, that last tree hurt. And it broke my best sunglasses.
“Check his pulse,” said a distant but kindly voice. It wasn’t without some urgency, though. Then the urgency increased. “I think we’re losing him.”
All somewhere else. I was warm and peaceful. What was to worry about? I felt a trickle of sweat fall into my armpit. At least I think it was sweat.
Those voices again. “Hurry. He’s faint.”
I don’t know where my Harley ended up, probably in the field with the potato harvester, but what I do know is that the tree didn’t move. It was the one tree I can recognise. I was thinking that as I hit it. Not concentrating again, letting the mind wander. That’s what you get for loving nature. It was an oak, by the way.
The mighty oak. The mighty oak that just might have done for me once and for all.
Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. He has degrees in psychology and mental health policy and a PhD in literature and creative writing. His work can be seen in AdHoc Fiction, The Ekphrastic Review, Mercurial Stories, thedrabble, Tuck Magazine and Spillwords Press, among other places. Henry also runs writing support groups for people with mental health issues.