“Good morning Mr. Treebeard,” PM whispers as she softly taps her knuckles against the wooden trunk of the massive Tree-Spirit. A gurgling sound, like snoring, is emitted from deep within the organic core of the creature. PM retreats cautiously to rest upon a mossy log. The gurgling sound becomes muffled, then stops. The bemused Mermaid giggles to herself quiety.
Treebeard opens his eyes and yawns a wide, languorous yawn, “Ah……..[click, clacking of wooden lips]……! What have we here?” Treebeard ponders sleepily, as he rubs and clears his eyes of ‘sleepy morning sap’. “Who wakes me at this hour?” he queries, as his amber coloured eyes slowly focus upon the waiting Mermaid. He bends his trunk forward to get a better look at his strange visitor. PM’s eyes widen as Treebeard’s minty-breath is felt upon her cheek.
“My name is Poseidon’s Muse, Mr. Treebeard,” PM offers cheerily, “and I have been ordered by his Oceanic Highness to interview you for his tabloid – ‘Ramblings from the Mermaid Tavern!'” she continues emphatically, “and since we are discussing the nature of Tree Spirits in our next installment, we thought it fitting that we should interview you, the Ents most Highest Representative, for the piece.” PM looks expectantly up at the Tree, she cannot help but stare in awe at his organic form. “If you would like, I could come back at another time.” she adds thoughtfully.
Treebeard gazes pensively and longingly. After a couple of minutes, he gives himself a little shake and settles his hands upon his lap. A mockingbird lands on his left shoulder and begins to peck at his ear. Treebeard sighs and closes his eyes. The Ents are famous for making long, arduous decisions about most of life’s daily tasks, and the question of an interview needs to be considered very carefully. With a sigh and a wrinkled brow, Treebeard opens his eyes. “Well, Poseidon’s Muse, as long as my clan is represented fairly, I see no reason why I should not agree to an interview,” he muses, “as long as we keep it short, because I have many trees to shepherd this morning,” and continues, “apparently, an Orc was seen meandering through the Linden Forest last evening.”
“Oh, certainly Mr. Treebeard,” PM chimes as she removes a small handheld computer from her sea-shell satchel. She had thought twice about packing a pen and pad of paper this morning, out of respect for Treebeard. “Thank you so very much for agreeing to this interview, I shall not keep you very long.” Treebeard begins to hum an Ent harmony and contentedly picks at his mossy beard with twiggy fingers. “The first question that I would like to ask you, involves the nature of your birthplace.”
“Well Muse, I was born at the edge of the Eriador Forest,” Treebeard responds slowly, “in a small stand of oak trees, near a meandering brook.” His voice sounds quite melodic. It has a humming quality to it, and the Mermaid swears that she can sense the “Om” harmonic vibrating through her eardrum. His eyes fix on the Mermaid with a deep and penetrating gaze as he continues, “the forest has been harvested by Dunedain men-folk for the purpose of building ships, thus our people have long since moved on from this area to the land of Fangorn, for they no longer had any trees to shepherd.”
“I see, Mr. Treebeard.” the Mermaid states as she taps away at her computer. She is thankful that the Ents abandoned their native Entish language, because it was reknowned for being rather difficult and laborious to understand and learn. “Now I must ask you another question.” PM ponders as she gazes up at the Ent. “What was life like for a young Ent, growing up in the Fangorn Forest?”
Treebeard breaks her gaze and stares longingly into the dense thicket of surrounding wood. Tiny droplets of sap begin to form in the corner of his eyes as he recalls memories from his youth. His mind begins to fill with images of his tree-shepherding training, his first defense of the Linden Wood, and, of course, his first romance with the young and beautiful Ent-woman, Zea. “Life in the Fangorn Forest provided a very enchanted realm for a developing youth,” Treebeard answers wistfully. He raises a finger-like tendril to the corner of each eye and looks over to the Mermaid. “But now, as I age, I feel as though these memories are slipping away and disappearing, like clouds of morning mist.”
Sensing that her question had triggered some painful memories, the Mermaid looks down and shuffles her legs slightly. The moss feels cool beneath her sandalled feet. Cool, like the sappy tears that befell her Tree-Friends cheeks. She feels tempted to move towards the tree, to apologise, and reassure him, but she is paralyzed with twinges of guilt. Finally, Treebeard’s gentle voice breaks the silence, and PM looks up, startled. “It is wise to recall the tenderness of one’s youth, Muse,” soothes Treebeard, “we should all be lucky enough to have the gift of memory, so that we can reconnect, full-circle with that lost sense of child-like wonder.”
Standing to her feet, the Mermaid glides towards the wise Tree-Spirit. Placing a hand upon his calloused bark, she whispers, “Thank you so much for this interview Mr. Treebeard,” continuing, “you are such a wise and enlightened Soul and I am privileged that you were able to share part of your story with me.” Their eyes meet in a pensive gaze. For the briefest of instants, the Mermaid chokes back even more pressing questions, “Did you ever marry Zea?”, “What were some of your thoughts at the Entmoot, before your battle with Saruman?”, “What have you been doing since the battle?”
But, instead, the Mermaid just smiled a knowing and thankful smile. She had felt the heart of the Ent-clan with Treebeard’s own personal sentiment (for the Ent are such a courageous and sentient race). She understood his Ancient heart and accepted his inner Tree-Spirit as the most important aspect of his Existence. The battles, the romances, the memories were all part of this wizened spirit, but now, she merely considered them as pieces of the very puzzle, the very enigma that stood before her. He had given her valuable insight in only a few words. He had shared his Ent, Tree-Spirit insight. With this insight, he had penetrated into the heart of her very own Nature, and that was most precious indeed.
“Before you leave, Muse, just one more thing,” Treebeard notes as he leans towards her, extending a branched arm and tendril-like fingers out to her, “I want you to have this.” He places a quarter-sized piece of red amber in her hand. It glimmers and shines with the same bright intensity as the Tree-Spirit’s eyes. “This small amber amulet will protect your energy and guard you from ill-harm on your journey.” he nods his head and blinks his eyes thoughtfully. “Wear the crystal next to your heart and call upon me if you ever require the Wisdom of the Trees.” PM closes her fingers around the crystal and presses it over her heart.
“Most certainly!” the Mermaid exclaims, “And thank you so much, once again, Dear Mr. Treebeard!”
[And with that, Dear Reader, PM retrieves her sea-shell satchel, turns to wave once again at her newly found friend, and trots off in search of that mossy forest path that will lead her back to the Mermaid Tavern.]
The “Interview” might have ended, but the Journey continues…