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“Mother Oak’s Advice” – FWG Flash Fiction for 06/15/2024

I confess that this is advice I’ve offered my kids—and others—many times.

The prompt is:





Henry flopped down on the grass under the ancient live oak. The heat and humidity wore on him, slowing his steps on his way to yet another dumb interview for a job he didn’t want. The only shade he had seen for blocks was here in this park under the tree locals called The Mother Oak. Leaning back against the rough trunk in a surprisingly comfortable spot between her knee roots, Henry was soon nodding, then sleeping soundly.

When he awoke, refreshed but embarrassed about his vagrancy, Henry looked around furtively. He was glad to see no one was staring at him. In fact, no one seemed to be around at all. The streets surrounding the square were free of both pedestrians and vehicles. The silence was creepy, since no sounds came from the surrounding streets either. In fact, as far as Henry could tell, there was no one else in New Orleans but him.

“Where is everybody?” he called out.

Then nearly jumped out of his skin when a beautiful voice responded. “They’ve all been summoned.”

Henry spun around, trying to locate the source of the voice.

“It’s me, Henry.” The voice came from the Mother Oak.

“But…you’re a tree.”

“A tree spirit. I’ve called this oak tree home for over a hundred years now. I’m afraid you’ve missed the Summoning.” Henry just stared in disbelief. “Everyone…well, almost everyone…was summoned to their fulfill their Great Purpose.”

“But what is my Great Purpose,” Henry protested.

Mother Oak’s verbal shrug was evident. “I guess you don’t have one yet. Hence your little nap.”

“How do I find one?” he asked, panicking.

“Find a calling that you would do even if no one paid you.” Mother Oak’s voice faded as a car horn woke Henry from his dream.



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