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I AM WRITING THIS ON MY PHONE FROM MY BED. The cold that I thought had gone away - came back. I feel mildly hideous. We just got home from hanging out with the Sister. No cold can divide the Sisterhood.

My reading class had just finished their reading book, and because I didn't want to start a new one on a Friday, we looked at a short story today. I decided to let them experience one of my favorites, "The Man Who Planted Trees". It is a French story by Jean Giono. He wrote it back in 1953. Oddly enough, the first time I ever read it, I was home from school sick. Life comes full circle, I guess.

If you don't want to know about the story, you can stop here. It is such a good story, and there is a wonderful reading of it on YouTube - with some lovely artwork. You should check it out.

The Story

A young man is traveling through the French countryside. The story begins before World War I. He finds himself in a desolate countryside. He has run out of water. He finds either abandoned villages, or villages filled with unfriendly, competitive people who live their lives consumed with greed. He finally comes upon a lonely shepherd and his flock. The shepherd gives him water and takes him back to his lone house. It is far from any villages and surrounded by a stark landscape.

After super, the shepherd who is named Eleazard, quietly sorts through some acorns. He carefully examines and sorts them until he has 100 perfect acorns. Intrigued and curious, our narrator decides to stay on another day. He discovers that Eleazard, aware of how lifeless the land has become, has determined to rectify it. Every day he plants 100 trees. At this point in the story, he has planted 100,00 acorns. 20,000 of those have sprouted and expects that 10,00 of them will actually survive. The next day, the young man leaves and for the next five years he fights in the First Workd War, all thoughts of a lonely shepherd slowly reseeding a desolate landscape alone, replaced with thoughts of survival.

After the war, seeking peace, he returns to the same countryside to visit Eleazard. He finds the older man still
working away, planting trees. The landscape has changed, though. The trees have begun to grow and signs of life and color have returned. By the story's end, the forest has grown so large that it becomes a protected National Forest. The officials of the area concerned that this beautiful, naturally- occurring forest be safe from any attempts to destroy it. No one is aware that the lush, green landscape is the result of one man's lonely, determined toil.

its a good story, right? I love so much of it. The idea that a single human can transform the world is so hopeful, and sweey. I love his annonymity too. No one knows what he has done. The world around him spins as he simply continues at his task - he saw a problem and he fixed it.

i hope, someday, I leave behind an endless grove of beautiful trees whose green leaves stretch toward the sun, as joyful children laugh and play, beneath their protective shade.

Plant those acorns, friends.

--Jen