We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Now it is just an abandoned church on the edge of a dark town, shadowed by overgrown, sarcastic pines that cover our roof in layers of needles. The needles are in varying shades of brown, some brittle and sharp, poking out of weathered crevices in our boards. The weight of it all - the needles, the dimness, the forgotten-ness of it all makes us want to crumble.
We miss the sounds of children playing, their squeaking shoes adding to the chaos of shrill squeals of joy as a ball made its way into the basket with a swish. Whistles blew, parents cheered, the applause thundered around our walls in acoustic delight. We even miss the quiet of church services, murmurs of prayers echoing together as feathered hats and too-tight neckties bowed in honor to their God. It was still community – many spirits coming together as one to celebrate, for a winning basketball game or answered prayers.
Now we only know silence. And the creaking of our age.
Many of us don’t remember where we came from. I do. It seems to be one of the memories that the years can’t extinguish. I remember the repose of the forest. The soundlessness there was different than here. Here, there are regrets of times lost and the fear of the future. Back “home”, we had promise. We had peace. We had the strength of who we are… who we were. The still tranquility of our own community spoke volumes in itself.
Our leaves were soft, not the spiky missiles of the aromatic needles that covered our roof. Those of us who were lucky enough to be vertical felt for our brothers and sisters who withstood the pricks of falling nature. We had light back home. We had the sun beaming through our tallest limbs with radiance and warmth. Here, there are musky shadows. The trees outside block any chance of warmth, and I can feel my surface becoming alive with mold. The beautiful chestnut coloring is quickly becoming overgrown by blackness - much like the hopes of my comrades underneath and overhead, as well as alongside me.
Until we are rediscovered, we only have our whispered memories.
We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.