Rewrite: Fallen Tree

[For StoryADay May today I rewrote the exercise I’m submitting to The Writers Studio workshop tonight. Original version. It also works with the StoryADay May prompt: “An Emotional Rollercoaster“]

Simon in his hometown to visit his sister and her family
arrived in time for their emergency backyard situation:
after heavy spring rains had worked the soil under it into putty,
a tree had cracked and fallen. Dad, she said, was happy

to share his chainsaw, his time, and his pickup to truck away
the arboreal detritus. Simon said he was fine, and really, there was work
to be done and a tree out of comfortable height to hide behind.
They yanked and clipped what they could, and when dad arrived

and the family wandered around front to greet him, Simon
took his place, shook the man’s hand, and thought
about how the desert had trees, too, brought in by founders and
developers and migrating masses to intrude among the cactus

and shrubs tall pieces of former greener homes. The weather
in the Pacific Northwest was cooler and they worked
under cooling mists of occasional drizzle, with enough cool sun
to work the gray away and dazzle out all of nature’s

colors. The chainsaw under blue smoke progressed toward
the snapped black trunk. Sawdust made the air fragrant
and sneezable. Simon snipped the larger fragments down
into carriable arm cargo that stacked nicely in the back

of dad’s truck. This isn’t a race, dad advised. The tree grew
backward, looming shader to slim shaded, its twigs disconnected
among leaves and logs and Simon’s sense of time that couldn’t be
put back together again. When they were done, his sister made breakfast.

They gathered beside dad’s truck. Simon said goodbye and stood back
to let his sister and her family carry out much longer goodbyes.
The stump would need removal, but for now it was, in the children’s
playing, a table in a clearing with plenty of seats for everyone.

StoryADay May 2016 Day 26

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), his (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).