The Word


[ ahr-BOR-ee-ul ]


  1. Of or relating to a tree: resembling a tree.
  2. Inhabiting or frequenting trees.

Let’s Write…

** Either a story beginning, a story ending, a piece of flash fiction, a poem—inspired by the word, arboreal, where does it take me? Where does it take you?

Jalah sat in her usual spot, atop the rocky ledge, shaded by the rock-face behind her. She gazed out to the gigantic tree in the distance that didn’t seem to belong to their world. Taller than any mountain, and wider than a city, it was a wonder for all to look upon; but, now they didn’t just look. 

 Below, and far in the distance, Jalah new the crowds of people surrounding the tree were discussing what to do with it. 

 Some groups wanted to begin mining it, providing wood to the entire continent for generations. Others agreed, but only wanted to hollow out the tree, and then turn it into some kind of super shelter. 

 Jalah thought it was very odd, all the debating. Why do they have to do anything with it?—she thought—we’ve never thought this way before. Jalah agreed that the tree was more than just a tree, but not a resource for fire, or shelter.

 “It is a symbol,” Jalah said aloud.

 The words were the end of a great internal debate she’d been struggling with every day on her rock ledge—trying to find where she stood in the groups of people below. 

 “It is there to inspire us to dream big, and to be better!” 

 The words were again only said to herself, but in her mind, she was speaking to the vast crowds below. The sun began to peek over the rock face behind her, shining atop her black hair. It was lunchtime. 

 Jalah stood up with a determination in her heart. She would form a new group below. 

 “We will do nothing with the tree, but look.”

 Jalah began her climb down, smiling the whole way. 


 Happy Earth Day! I know that was a few days ago, but it seems the “word of the day people” decided today was a good day to speak about trees. Two of the words I got in my email this morning were about trees. 


 I think there’s a cool little story here. A story of politics and cultural debate, perhaps? What should we do with this incredible resource before us? What if the answer was just to let it be a symbol? 

 We can definitely make the conflict more interesting by throwing in some dire circumstances. There’s a shortage of wood, and they need wood for fires as “winter is coming.” No white-walkers, though. Also, there could be an overpopulation problem, and shelter is lacking. No place to put everyone. 

 All of these conflicts would be better set in a different world than ours, and in a different time. No skyscrapers, no steel structures, and so on. No gasoline. A place and time where wood is the only resource for fire and building. 

 Either way, I just like Jalah’s feeling that this great tree is there to inspire only. It is a gift to encourage humanity to live bigger and better. 

What do you think of Arboreal?

 What would you do with this giant tree? 

Leave your thoughts, your own story beginning/ending, flash-fiction, or whatever in the comments! Where did arboreal or my story take you?

If you liked this story, you may enjoy my short story, Transference. The whole idea for that story started with imaging alien creatures living in trees.

Today’s word is from Merriam-Webster.

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