The boy sat down and traced in the sand with his toe. Behind him his footprints, a zig zag of little ovals frayed at the ends, wound their way between the jagged stones. Droplets of blood dried along scratches in his feet. The sun beat down on his head and white circles spun before his eyes. He lay back in the shade of a tree, arms outstretched to catch any breeze, and gazed up at the large blue spaces between the leaves. The tree was young, - its leaves were sparse, many were just bumps along the branches, but some were delicate translucent shoots facing the rays of the burnishing sun defiantly. Tempered in the bud, they could withstand all but the harshest of its beams. As the boy lay there he noticed the strange shape of the tree. He had never seen such a tree and he gazed in wonder at its form - it wasn’t a fuzzy, fluffy tree like the ones he drew; it didn’t fan out from a single trunk into many branches. The single trunk was there, straight and strong, reaching to the sky, but just one branch went across from one side to the other. Shoots sprouted from every node up the trunk and along the cross-branch. What was this tree, what was its name? Either side of the tree were two other trees, the same shape. But only one of them was living. Shoots from the second had been burnt by the frost and withered by the sun so all that was left was the stark shape of an empty cross, dead and rotting, eaten by termites and borers, gradually returning to dust. And the boy knew that he lay in the place where the Son of God had died but where now, the Tree of Life grew and flourished.

Page Updated October 25, 2020