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Chapter 1

No matter the subject of the lecture, somehow the conversation always turned to trees. We get air from the trees. The trees support all life and other organisms besides humans need the trees. There were countless reminders each day of their worth, from the nursery rhymes of the children to the worn, leather parchments handed down between holidays and festivals. Everything it seems revolves around trees.

Jina shifted on the boulder’s uneven surface. Her toes tingled and her back was stiff from sitting for so long in the same cross-legged position. Today’s lecture was about the value of community, but somehow her Teacher had turned to a tale about a tree in a distant land. She tried to suppress her anger but could no longer hold back.

Have you ever seen the trees?” she blurted out. “I mean, if you haven’t actually seen the trees, who’s to say that the trees are there?”

The Teacher cringed, as if deflecting a vulgar suggestion. His long white robes hung on his frail frame. “Your argument is nonsensical,” he replied. “One needs not see the trees to define one’s supposition on the existence of trees.”

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