The Singing Trees -Flash Fiction for 3/28/14

This week’s story was inspired by Donald Harington’s novel, The Choiring of the Trees. Harington, who died in 2009, is one of the foremost writers from my home state of Arkansas. Entertainment Weekly called him, “America’s greatest unknown writer.” Born and raised in Little Rock, Harington lost his hearing at the age of 12 from meningitis. Being deaf did not keep him from becoming a professor of art history and he taught at universities in New York, New England and South Dakota before returning to his alma mater, The University of Arkansas, and teaching for 22 years until his retirement. He is best known for his novels of Ozark life, set in the fictional town of Stay More. His most popular novel is The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks.



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Photo copyright John Nixon

Photo copyright John Nixon


The Singing Trees


Alone in the writhen forest on a wild windy day, the zephyr whistling through the twisted limbs sings a song that sounds hauntingly familiar. The rattling leaves reverberate like snare drums and the creaking branches sing backup. I lie down under the misshapen growth and listen to the choiring air, the tune on the tip of memory, and fall asleep to the arboreal lullaby. I awake at dusk, the wind has died, but the tree music magically plays on and I finally recognize the melody and sing along, “Alas my love, you do me wrong to cast me out discourteously.”

20 responses to “The Singing Trees -Flash Fiction for 3/28/14

  1. How musically you describe this sojourn in the forest. The ending took me unawares, but is none the worse for that. This picture has brought out the description genius in many fictioneers!

  2. Good use of the Greensleeves song for the trees. I almost expected Lassie to come up and say, “Timmy’s in the well!” 😉

    Seriously, though, I really DO like this one. It has the poetics and the lilt. I almost could feel those breezes. Great story, Ron!

  3. Dear Ron,

    I never knew the actual words to Greensleeves. I’ll admit to going to YouTube to listen. Not sorry. You wove it into your poetic prose most eloquently. A most enjoyable read. Thank you.



  4. Greensleeves… fitting. A also loved all the “sound” words you used – perhaps a sad tribute to the writer who lost his hearing.

  5. is it fair to say that the gnarled trees can symbolize the discord in his psyche from having been tossed out discourteously? he may still be dealing with it, unsuccessfully? i enjoyed the bits of alliteration in there, like “rattling leaves reverberate” and “creaking branches sing backup.” intentional, or it just happened that way?

  6. Beautifully described. Love the tongue-twisting nature of ‘… the zephyr whistling through the twisted limbs…’

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