Eternal Spring

Drawing branches of a jacaranda tree, seen from below. Caption reads: "The glorious purple jacaranda flowers."

Eternal Spring short story by Iris Carden

Settle in dear reader, while I tell you the strange tale of Kristen, who had a wish come true, and lived to regret it.

It was one of those glorious spring days.  The Brisbane sky was that special, glorious, intense, blue it only wears in spring.  

Kristen looked up through the branches of the jacaranda tree in her back yard.  The  vibrant purple flowers had erupted and were taking over the tree, preparatory to lightly falling and creating the purple carpet which covers so much of the city as spring progresses.

This was her favourite time of the year, the time when her home city was most beautiful, when she most loved where she lived.

She looked at the tapestry of purple flowers and green leaves against the blue sky.  The colours were alive, intense, and seemed so perfect. Kristen let out a deep sigh. 

“I wish,” she said quietly, “spring would last for ever. I wish the jacaranda bloomed all year round, that the sky was always this clear and blue, that the weather was this fine. I wish every day was like today.”

Words spoken to empty air, words that no-one hears don’t have any effect, do they, dear reader? Yet, so many ancient cultures believed trees had spirits.  From the Greek Dryads, to the Gallic Druantia, to the Baltic Lauma, to the Phillipine Anito, to the Madagascan Rakapila, to the Chinese Pi-Fang to the malevolent Indian Yashinis, people around the world believed trees had powerful spirits.  Of course, we know better than that now, don’t we?

Something heard her wish.  Not a tree spirit, because we know those aren’t real, but something did.

The next day was just as clear and beautiful as that one, as was the next and the next.

By December, when spring ought to have begun to move into summer, it was obvious something was not right.

The flowers never left the jacarandas. The annual purple carpet never happened.

The flame trees which usually exploded in bright red flowers, taking over from the jacarandas, heralding the shift from spring to summer, and decorating the city for Christmas, never came.

December moved into January.  

January didn’t bring the summer rains. No clouds disturbed the beautiful clear blue sky.

Water restrictions were placed.

Gardens died, but the big trees, like the jacarandas were able to withstand the drought.

Fruit trees failed to receive the signals of temperature change and rain, and did not form flowers or fruit.

Vegetable growers saw their crops die in the field for lack of rain.

What should have been summer wore on, with no rain, just unrelenting blue skies, and purple flowers who lived long past their appointed time.

No-one missed the heat and humidity of summer, but everyone missed the water from the rain.  Even Kristen began to resent the rich beautiful flowers of the jacaranda.

Kristen stood under the tree, hating the flowers she’d loved so much.  “What happened? Why can’t the weather be normal? I just want everything the way it should be,” she cried.

Out of the clear sky, a large lightning bolt struck the tree beside her. The explosive “bang” of thunder felt as though it went through her entire body.

Clouds came rushing from everywhere and nowhere, and the sky turned black.

The rain began, and did not stop.  It was like a raging animal, as it drenched and drowned the parched landscape.  Suburbs flooded, but the rain did not stop.  

A whole summer’s rain fell in days.  

Then the sky cleared.  The weather went back to normal.  

The jacaranda in Kristen’s yard never recovered, but stood scorched as a permanent reminder of an unending spring.

And so, dear reader, we leave Kristen who will always be more careful of her words.  

I invite you, dear reader, to look out for more:

Strange Tales

While you’re here…

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


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