By Helen Duckworth
Once upon a time, there was a forest: a beautiful and serene place. In that forest, there was an ancient, majestic Oak. It was the tallest tree in the forest and one of a kind because it could sing! The tree had first sung 70 years ago and hadn’t stopped since. He sung to the birds, his fellow trees and the Sun. He sung in a slow, low, precise voice – as you would expect any tree to sing in.
Then one day the gorgeous silver Birch nearby started singing too. She sung in a quiet quavering voice, barely audible over the wind. The Oak was astonished! He thought he was alone, the only one. At last, he had a friend to sing with. He would sing as loud as possible and show her how to do it. And that’s exactly what he did!
But the louder he sung, the quieter her voice became. He couldn’t understand it. Soon she sang so quietly that he couldn’t even hear her anymore. This crushed the Oak, he wanted a friend to sing with so badly. He was so disheartened, he stopped singing and the forest grew quiet for the first time in 70 years. It was like some of the magic had gone out of the forest, flowers’ heads drooped and there seemed to be permanent clouds in the sky.
Slowly, gently, a beautiful voice rose out of the silence, a light Soprano completely different to the voice of the Oak but just as magnificent. The birds were captivated and started to sing too. Soon the forest was alive with the sound of their voices.
The Oak stood there, amazed. The music was heaven to him, he wanted to join in but he was afraid. What if the Birch and the birds stopped singing again? He couldn’t cope with losing them again. What should he do? But how could he not join in?
As he thought, he listened. Listened to the solos of the Birch and of the birds and to the choir as a whole. How their voices joined together and heard those moments when his low pitch would have added great depth and beauty to the song.
When he was ready, when the moment was right, he drew his courage to him and in a soft voice began to sing again.