A piece of creative writing I wrote for my York University course. We were asked to write a piece using trees as a metaphor.
Bernard bleeped the car locked, pocketed his keys and walked into the wood, the darkness held no fear for him. He’d walked this way many times before. He hoped to reach the high ground just as the sun was rising. He had two miles to go and about 25 minutes to complete the distance. It was early summer now and it was never really dark at this time of year anyway. The eyes adjusted as soon as you left the brightness of the car behind in the car park he had noticed. Bernard was getting old now but he knew he could do the distance by the time dawn glimmered over the high ground beyond the wood. He’d been coming here, to watch the sunrise for 70 years. He did it each year without fail. For more than sixty years now, on the morning of 6th June: D-Day.
It was here, in this particular wood, that he’d done a great deal of training, with number 2 parachute regiment, during the Second World War. He’d grown to trust his comrades during those exercises and knew they trusted him; all gone now. He came to honour those men so needlessly taken, well before their time. There was Jimmy Rice - a budding architect, Peter Thompson – a skilled mechanic, John Rutter – earmarked for great things in the world of law. All wasted on the beaches of Normandy. He tried to remember the names of as many of his old friends as he could. More difficult now as age had eroded chunks of memory away, piece by relentless piece.
After 22 minutes he reached the crest of a small hillock, beyond this lay the bulk of the forest and the view he remembered from all those years ago. He gazed out over a scene of carnage, acres of trees cut down, clear felled. Nothing left but grave-like stumps and snapped minor branches. No trees now, nothing living over one foot tall.
Just then the sun crested the higher ground beyond and revealed the full brutal results of the mechanical timber garnering that had obviously finished only recently. The sharp acrid smell of too much pine resin in the air almost too much for Bernard. He knew the trees as his friends and now they were gone. He caught a glimpse of colour about 40 feet off. It was a lone red poppy.