Shadow birds cackled as the swing creaked quietly in protest to the biting breeze, as heart leaves fluttered and desperately clung to the mother tree. Shadow birds muttered as the frigid wind blew, as old man winter blew icy rain at fair autumn’s retreating back, as heart leaves lost their grip on the mother tree, one by one by one. Shadow birds clamored as the cold snows fell and heart leaves drooped, weighed down by a cold world’s sorrows, and fell, one by one by one. Except for one. Shadow birds murmured as blizzards blew and sleet slashed through the cold winter night, beating and hounding but failing to pry loose the mother tree’s last. Shadow birds tittered as the air froze solid, as the last heart leaf was coated in frost and ice, days where everything was so still and fragile the slightest touch would shatter even the pale sun. And still the heart leaf hung on. Shadow birds chattered as the winter winds blew and the rain, snow, and ice fell, as the world froze so cold time itself seemed to grind to a frosty halt. And still the heart leaf dangled. And time continued to march on. Shadow birds sang as young spring sighed, slowly releasing winter’s icy grip, as the lone heart leaf shivered and shook off the last of the frost. Shadow birds danced as the warm rains fell, as the earth began to wake, as the flowers began to bloom. Shadow birds pranced on the mother tree’s swing. But still she slumbered. Shadow birds whistled as the last little heart leaf flapped in spring’s breeze, as it pulled and pushed, as it slowly stood up. Shadow birds laughed as the branches quivered, as life flowed, as the mother tree finally woke, as she noticed her one last heart leaf, clinging to life, bursting to live. Shadow birds crooned as the mother tree shook and branches twisted, wrapped lovingly around the little heart leaf. And plucked it from her bark. Shadow birds trilled as mother tree bent, as branches reached, as the one last heart leaf was gently stuck, stem first, into the muck. Shadow birds cried, as the heart leaf sat horrified, as the mother tree died. All it did, all it survived, and here it was anyway, on the ground. But it did not give up. Shadow birds laughed, as spring’s days swept by, as the heart leaf stood as tall as it could, as if trying to reach the sky. Shadow birds snickered, as they could not see, but the little heart leaf knew something was up. It was growing and changing, reaching and feeding. Shadow birds staggered as the heart leaf grew taller, as the world realized that the mother tree died, a sacrifice, to give it’s offspring room to grow. Shadow birds cheered as the heart leaf pushed higher, as a new tree grew beneath it, as branches spread forth and the heart leaf once again flew among the clouds. Shadow birds rejoiced as buds appeared and new heart leaves grew, as love multiplied across the world again. Shadow birds cheered as the last little heart leaf was no longer last and alone, but first among many.


Hope. Never give up.
Life’s only constant is change.
Hope springs eternal.


I had no idea what I was going to write today. So I didn’t write anything this morning. Or this afternoon. It wasn’t till this evening I decided I would take a closer look at the amazing prompts listed at cheerpeppers.wordpress.com, but run my own twist on one of them.

And on the Listful Prompts of Listing page, I saw number 70: Things you’ve altered.

Only, I didn’t want to write a list. So I took the prompt and ran a Google image search, and I took the 81st image that showed up. A picture of a tree, with heart leaves, a swing, and two birds. It was somewhere on Pinterest, I couldn’t figure out where it originally came from. And I wrote a story that was actually inspired by the above image, but also a photo a friend posted on Facebook, a picture of a tree with one leaf still clinging to the very top branch.  A story about shadow birds and one little heart (leaf) that wouldn’t give up hope. I hope you enjoyed it.



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