At Token Grove,
the tour busses are pulled over
so the tourists can admire
the last of the ancient cedars.
The trees stand behind protective fences,
neatly, in rows, branches clasped to their chests,
their ferns and fronds and
old man's beard neatly combed,
posing prettily for the photographers.
A grandfather, his hand on
his grandson's shoulder,
"Look, Johnny, these are trees!
When I was a boy, there were a lot of them."
"How many was 'a lot'?" asks young Johnny.
"More than this?"
"Yes, many more. They grew all over this island.
Not behind fences, whole hillsides and acres of them."
Young Johnny: "What's an 'acre'?"
"Well, er, land that has.....land......on it,
earth and grass and trees and growing things.
Land without concrete, without tall buildings,
without expressways, paved lots,
shopping monstrosities, er, malls.......
In those days, I could ride my bike
through the countryside
and see trees everywhere.
And we didn't have to wear these
oxygen tanks then,
because the trees gave us air."
"Wow," says Johnny, impressed.
"No oxygen tanks?
Grandpa, what happened?
And why do they call this Token Grove?"
"Big companies wanted to make big money
and they cut all the trees
and shipped them away,
as fast as they could.
Till the hillsides were bare
and began to slide down
the mountain slopes every rainy season."
"And that's why the mountains are little hills now?"
"Yup. And we call it Token Grove because
these are the only ones that were protected,
and the only ones left on this whole island.
They are rotting now, and soon will fall to the ground
with the winter wind."
"Grandpa, I wish it was like when you were a boy, for me."
"Me, too, Johnny. Me, too."