The Colony Trees


Photo credit: Sarolta Bán

Sonia watched the last of the trees lift up and fly away. It had been her fantasy ever since she was five and first heard that Mars hadn’t always been able to support life.

She had joined the junior Arbor Society when she was eight, became a regional counselor at twenty, and now at thirty-five, she was the assistant manager for the entire Martian Forestation project.

In her right hand was her husband Andrew’s left, while on her other side, five-year-old Billy, and his nine-year-old sister Charlotte were huddled against her.

“Of course, I never really believed birds would pull trees from the sanctuary forest here in Vermont all the way to Mars, but it was fun to pretend when I was your age.” She held Billy closer to her, feeling his warmth, while Charlotte, stepped to one side, more fascinated with the orbital transports at the spaceport that would take the last trees up to the big colony ship Argonaut in high orbit.

“When will we get to go, Mommy?” Billy rested his head against her hip.

“It will take several weeks for the cargo to be secured for the long voyage, and then weeks more for all of the passengers to board.”

“Like us, Mom?” Charlotte had built her first Apollo module when she was six. Since then, dangling from the ceiling of her bedroom, were models of every spacecraft that had ever flown for the past one hundred years.

“Like us, Char.” Andy had been mostly silent during the transfer. After all, this was Sonia’s project and her victory. But he was the one who mourned most deeply for a damaged Earth. He was also the one who hoped most fiercely that redistributing a large portion of his mother planet’s human population to the Moon bases and Martian colonies would eventually help Terra recover. It would take long centuries, but then, so had the Mars terraforming and under-lunar base projects.

“I still like to pretend the birds are carrying the last tree into the sky.”

“So do I, Billy.” Sonia allowed herself to see through his eyes, the eyes of her childhood. “So do I.”

I wrote this for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Photo Challenge #295. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a story or poem.

I couldn’t think of a story off the top of my head that would literally match the image, so I too a bit of literary license. I don’t think it’s too hard to interpret.

Read other tales inspired by the image HERE.

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