Let’s Make it Green
Short story by Iris Carden
“It was barren when we got here,” the old woman told the teenager. “Once there had been a forest, but it had been cut down. There was just bare earth and a little dry grass when we arrived. Your Grandpa looked around, and he said, ‘Let’s make it green.’ So that’s what we did.
“We built a house, and a garden for vegetables. We planted our fruit trees. Then we started to regrow a forest, where a forest had once been destroyed.
“Each week we’d plant two new native trees. We’d nurture them until they could stand on their own. After the first year, we started to add another plant each week as well, the type that grows under the forest canopy. We’d put the smaller plant under our established trees.
“So we went on for forty years, and we’ve planted more than four thousand trees. We took a barren space and made it green.”
The girl looked around at the forest she’d always taken for granted. She remembered the treehouse her grandfather had built for her and her sister in one of the trees.”You did all this? You and Grandpa? And you’ve kept going all these years even though Grandpa’s gone?”
Grandma looked at the strong young girl who held her hand so firmly. “Grandpa’s always here with me. People in our hearts and in our memories never leave us. We still plant our trees together. But now I am not as strong, and it’s getting hard for me. Will you help me plant this week’s trees?”
The teen and her Grandma, took a shovel and a baby tree. Together they dug a hole and planted. Then together they watered all the youngest trees and plants.
Looking around at all the life her grandparents had brought, the girl was amazed at the difference two people had made. She made a promise that while she lived nearby she would help her grandmother every week, and wherever her life took it next, she would help to make it green.