I contorted and squeezed through the narrow fire scar of the old Sequoia tree known as ‘Burnt Monarch’. As I made my way into the center of the once living behemoth, the sounds from the outside world dissipated – deadened by the thick trunk encasing my body. A few cobwebs fluttered from my presence, but I could not locate their makers. I steadied my breath and listened for creatures in the charred recesses nearby, but all I heard was the sound of my own heartbeat. I looked up through the tunnel of wood – a cathedral built by millenniums of cellular division – into the bright sky above. A sudden draft of wind floated through the opening, encircled me, and lifted skyward. Like a Phoenix rising out the ashes, the old tree’s soul continues to linger amongst the living.
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