trilliontreesinitiative THE TRILLION TREES INITIATIVE It was really all my fault Stars in my eyes I haphazardly met strangers from the internet in more-or-less public places and pled my case just to be brushed off over and over again Months of pounding the keyboard and trying to find people to help me I gave up and decided if it needed doing I could at least give it a game try I posted my plea to every corner of the internet every newsgroup I could find every fledgling website This was back before there were pictures on the internet I was a true believer then and was sure that if I found the right people somehow we'd find a way to plant a trillion trees on our planet Spare change went to seedlings that I nurtured through frigid winters and increasingly hot summers I surreptitiously planted them a spade in one pocket and a sapling or ten in another all wrapped in a damp rag ready for a moment no one seemed to be watching-- could add a sapling to a border of trees along the waters' edge or in a little clearing of national forest Time passed kids came and overwhelmed by the responsibilities I'd willingly accepted without any real sense of the gravity of my commitment to the humans l'd made I let my zealous mission drift off like my trapeze artist dreams from thirty years earlier My kids were smarter than me and kept me busy ferrying them back and forth with their extracurricular activities I felt like an unpaid lab assistant for their science fair projects but I knew that sacrifice was part of parenthood and I tucked my passions behind a mask of nurturing officiousness I truly forgot about the pleas l'd broadcast so carelessly The internet was a wild place in the late twentieth century and twenty years after my last screams into the abyss came the most unexpected answer delivered simultaneously to my old and new email account and sent as a text WE CAN HELP WITH THE TREES It looked like it came from my own email address my own cell number and it was only addressed to me I almost swiped away the messages but but what was I rejecting? My old mission? I still knew we needed trees to help counter our own environmental carelessness What if my shouts into the void reached someone who could actually help? I wrote and discarded responses one after another Finally I replied with I'm open to suggestions and watched as my own words buzzed my telephone and felt foolish and a little more cynical as nothing happened What was I expecting? Hackers to show up with bushels of acorns? It wasn't hackers it was a strangely bland man who rang my doorbell the next morning right after l'd hugged my kids and seen the bus shuttle them to school Since was still wearing pants I answered the door Sorry we're renters has been my greeting to anyone at my door for the last decade It's not actually true even -- we bought our rented house before the kids were born but it usually cuts off any sales pitch and lets any visitor trundle off to a more likely mark I wasn't even really thinking about the weird message of the night before--my chore list was mighty and overwhelming and if I wanted to live in a clean house I needed to make it happen--but the bland man took a breath before I closed the door in his face THE TREES I don't know how it sounded like thousands of voices all at once at a conversationally comfortable volume but I got a sense of foreignness of something far beyond my understanding happening right at my front door My chores didn't seem to be much of a priority anymore I felt no danger from the stranger just overwhelming urgency to do as he wished My desire to invite the stranger to sit at my dining room table and listen was my only priority I led the way to the table and offfered some coffee to my guest NO THANK YOU the myriad voices replied sitting across the table from my spot He just looked like a guy in his late twenties or early thirties He could be my pizza delivery dude or the guy who managed the movie theater or a shoe salessman Sandy brown hair was cut and combed neatly He seemed to be in reasonable shape with rested placid eyes and a neutral expression on his slightly ruddy face He seemed both comfortably solid and like he was vibrating almost too fast for me to tell HERE'S OUR OFFER echoed maybe only in my head? Maybe I'm actually going crazy This is the weirdest interaction l've ever had with a sapient creature I'm pretty sure that guy was not a pizza deliverer or salesman he was something maybe many things different The paper felt high-quality thick and smooth but the letters were iridescent black at first glance but racing oil-slick colors at any angle My eyes couldn't focus on it at first Did this guy drug me? Why did I let him in my house? He was probably a serial killer Or a mass murderer? All those voices all at once? This was insane PLEASE READ IT I obediently looked down at the words WE THE UNDERSIGNED WISH TO SAVE YOUR PLANET WITH YOU I looked up at the bland man and tried to explain my insignificance I like where you're going with this but I'm just one person I'm not in charge of anything really including my own children I can't even keep my houseplants alive I pointed at browning foliage in my house a spider plant that was purportedly unkillable until my indefatigable inability to keep track of my own commitments caught up and dried out WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHO YOU CAN BE KEEP READING The words seemed to swim and reform as I looked down again WE WILL BUY VAST TRACTS OF LAND AROUND YOUR PLANET WE WILL PLANT YOUR TRILLION TREES YOU JUST MUST AGREE I felt completely inadequate I was in no way qualified to agree to this I'm a suburban mom not a diplomat or foreign dignitary I recycle and try to avoid single-use plastics but I'm not even sure that I'm doing that right What if I was agreeing to an alien invasion? My authority is limited to two small humans who were at least half jerk and that's not counting their father's influence More words scrambled across the page WE WISH NO HARM TO YOU WE JUST WISH TO MAKE YOUR PLANET MORE HABITABLE BOTH FOR US AND YOU Ah there's the catch Who the hell are they? Do I want to cohabitate with another species? What if they're like kudzu -- invasive and impossible to remove? The page seemed to shimmer as the letters reformed WE WILL ONLY GROW TREES THAT CAN THRIVE WITHOUT DAMAGING OTHER SPECIES But why me? YOU ARE THE DREAMER Even if I didn't want you to do this there's no way I could stop you sosure! Go for it A pen rolled across my table and stopped pointing at a big black X at the bottom of the page SIGN AT THE X I looked over the page again No legalese had suddenly appeared The words were the same The pen felt heavy and I knew I was doing something irrevocable but I couldn't seem to stop I used my best handwriting and signed my name which of course you all know by now The bland man inclined his head and took the paper at once tucking it into an inside pocket of his tan corduroy jacket THAT SHOULD DO IT his voice buzzed more as he stood and moved to the door I felt bemused and a little like l'd signed something expensive away without fully understanding the value as I locked the door behind the stranger Maybe I was seeing things Maybe none of it happened The first sign that I hadn't suffered a psychotic break - to be honest I was a little surprised it wasn't l'd always felt precariously balanced on the edge of sanity and figured this was the final separation of my tenuous grasp on reality the first sign was a few days later when I finished matching another dozen socks rolling them together and throwing them in my older child's underwear drawer Her room was a pigsty but we'd come to an agreement that her worktable was her problem and that no food was consumed in her room so it was relatively hygienic I looked out the window and saw that the empty lot next to my house no longer had a sign advertising a local Realtor and something was happening I slid my feet into flip-flops and walked to my mailbox and saw the bland man riding a giant lawnmower cutting the native brush to nearly barren dirt I flipped through three credit card offers I planned to dump straight into the recycling and leafed through the grocery circular and noted that pork chops were a few dollars cheaper per pound so McRibs would be coming back soon The silliest things played through my head as watched him clear the land as a flock of quail have Opinions About Quail mostly that they're only saved from extinction by reproducing so much because they seem to have a death wish near motorized vehicles ran on foot just ahead of the mower waved at the man since we were acquainted Sort of I didn't know his name and I'd never even thought to ask Why didn't I ask? l'd signed a contract that I didn't truly understand and didn't even know his name I patiently waited for him to mow back toward my property line the forgotten junk mail between my arm and chest He shimmered a little as he hopped off the mower and moved towards me WE MUST PREPARE THE LAND I nodded like I knew his plan all along and was magnanimously supervising him I offered him a bottle of water or the use of my toilet if he needed it WE HAVE WHAT WE NEED Why was he speaking in the plural? It hadn't seemed odd until just then My sense of incongruity and that something was Just Not Right began to ramp up I waved at them and walked back to my bungalow I popped online to see what was happening in the world and saw the bigger picture easily seen by less self-absorbed human beings Every single vacant lot in the world was being mowed flat by a bland looking man who was identical in feature to every other bland-looking man mowing a vacant lot Too weird Reporters tried to talk to the men but they placidly mowed each lot one after another Where did all of the mowers come from? There were no brand markers on the machines As soon as the lots were cleared furrows were plowed The bland men moved implacably good neighbors every one and stopped the racket of agricultural busywork well before dinnertime They started the next day after sunrise The story got bigger as the days passed It was on the front page of newspapers and everyone seemed to have a hot take on what was really going on Aliens? Nah they looked too normal Clones? How could millions of clones make it to adulthood without someone catching on? As far as I could tell I was the only one who'd successfully spoken to any of thesepeople if that's what they were I thought I might be able to tell someone about my weird experience but I was also positive that no one would believe me I told my husband the strange tale and he laughed at my creativity and rubbed my back as I drifted off to sleep The next morning I drove the kids to school and went to the public library I used it frequently for escapist fiction mostly about young women in the early 19th century trying to snag a spouse I went straight to the reference desk Do you know what's going on with these guys mowing and plowing everywhere? The librarian grimaced You're number six to ask today We have no idea I returned a stack of Regencies into the slot next to the desk and walked back to my car without grabbing any new trashy fiction I drove home pensively worried that I had fucked up something big Safe in my garage I felt my anxiety rise and tried to breathe slowly and smoothly and reason my way through this mystery I agreed to let someone plant the trees that I knew we needed We clearly weren't taking care of our planet and someone else was stepping in for us Did it really matter that I didn't understand their reasoning or motivations? l'd been begging the world for so long and someone finally listened Panic attack averted I stepped into my kitchen and rinsed the breakfast dishes before loading the dishwasher looked out of my kitchen window and saw a wall of trees in the formerly vacant lot Not seedlings fully grown and mature treesT flipped on the news and it was the same everywhere The trees were in The space station reported that there were just new trees everywhere they hadn't been uprooted from forests they just suddenly existed Every tree fit perfectly in its microclimate and fruit and nut trees were included in each single-lot forest freely available for hungry mouths I ran outside and looked for the man He was standing with his hands on his lower baçk looking up Fruit trees were in full bloom Conifers looked like they'd been growingg there since time began I stood next to the manI didn't even know what words I could use to express my gratitude my discomfort my fear WE ARE DONE MS APPLESEED he buzzed and suddenly became a cloud of bees The cloud the machinery the man all dispersed The signed paper fell to the newly turned earth The trees stayed where they were A lot of people had been watching the planters A lot of people saw the planters become clouds of bees A lot of people grabbed one of the billion copies of my signed contract and everyone saw my name clear as day Terra Appleseed Mother of Trees the headlines called me My number was unlisted but my phone didn't stop ringing for weeks I didn't have any of the answers that the reporters wanted I was just a dreamer I told them I don't know why the bees listened to me The scientists had the most to say of course Carbon dioxide was down oxygen was up Glaciers stopped melting and while I was trying to sound like a functional adult refusing any interview requests my older daughter figured out how to make cold fusion work She'd built a variation of a Farnsworth Fusor that fused two atoms of hydrogen into one of helium at room temperature and suddenly eliminated the need for fossil fuel combustion With a ready-built platform we freely gave away her discovery to anyone who'd listen At first people thought I'd somehow organized the tree thing to sell my daughter's invention but I knew we'd get by fine without charging a dime The truth was more mysterious and unexplainable but we as a species weren't going to get ourselves in such a fix again -- we didn't need to We just needed the bees to start us off and my daughter to finish our addiction to combustion People started planting their own trees too but nothing made them grow forty feet in a day The bees kept that secret I was much too boring to stay in the spotlight for long and I returned to my diet of trashy novels and quiet longing for that feeling of secret importance that had filled the days of planting the wonder at this enormous leap towards peace and understanding that seemed to fall into my lap It was enough My obituary decades later would focus on the mystery of the trees the dream I tried to spread and the unexpected way it came true The trillion trees initiative worked We reached for the stars comfortable that our home planet was safe We found life everywhere we looked As far as I know no one ever spoke to the bees again Super long sorry - A modern day fairy tale about trees Meme

found ON 2019-12-01 01:31:45 BY ME.ME