Her life ended far too soon. Parents should never bury their children.
Fifty or so yards across the cemetery, a small group somberly encircled a hole which had been dug earlier this morning. A hole into which the pod with the Japanese red maple delicately grafted atop would soon be lowered. The tree-pod hybrid positioned next to the grief-stricken mother. Tears streaming down her shocked, weathered face.
I knew all too well how the dead girl was encased within the egg-shaped object, mindlessly drifting between worlds in the fetal position. I knew this from first-hand experience. If only her mother understood that she would be born again.
I’d heard that the newcomer tragically drowned while swimming with friends down at the lake. The undertow had been too strong and she’d ventured out too far. Mercilessly devoured by nature. Consumed by that which she had already been. Soon I’d speak with her through the branches and the roots. This realization filled me with joy. A pleasant, if foreign, change of tone for a weeping willow.
In due time, the Capsula Mundi was planted and the humans took turns watering the base of the young tree. Words were said. Tears were shed.
As evening approached, people reluctantly departed, leaving the Japanese red maple behind. A tree which was not yet the girl, but would be. A gradual change devoid of distinct stages would take place. Imperceptible to the keenest of observers. But it would happen. It happened to me and to countless others in this sacred forest.
In a few short years, the girl would take solace in her newfound ability to shelter, shade, nurture, inspire, and comfort friends both old and new.