Student Projects

Independent-learning super-curriculum projects: reading, research and ideas shared by Perse students

Finalist in the Rotary ‘Young Writer’ Competition – The Old Man and the Tree

Kirill N Year 9

Kirill has been placed amongst the finalists in the Rotary ‘Young Writer’ competition (intermediate section).

The Old Man and the Tree

He walked across the silent, beautiful beach, cool water licking at his feet, enveloping them in a cloak of pearly white froth.

The gulls screeched loudly across the gently rippling surface of the azure sea. Disturbed only by the occasional boulder, peaking its head tentatively above the waves, which still lapped placidly onto the aurulent beach.

A single tree stood on that beach, its russet trunk was firm, unyielding to the persistent waves, that lashed at it, remorselessly. Its roots, obscured by the sea. That tree, alone surveyed the paradise no human eye had ever witnessed. It had glimpsed no man except the one who sat below it, basking in the shade the graceful branches, adorned with floral beauty, provided.

The youth got up, looked at the cliffs which obscured this land and sighed. Then, with one gentle movement, he dropped some seeds onto the sand, then walked away, made nothing by the haze of sunlight on the beach, the first to ever experience its beauty, its elegance, its grace.

Six decades past, and, for the beach, nothing had changed. It saw no wars, nor witnessed anything but water and the cliffs.

A man appeared, his beard grey, his skin was leathery with age. He walked alone, leaning heavily upon his staff. Yet on his face he wore a ghost of a smile, a memory of happier times.

The sun was bright in the cloudless, serene sky, the sand was scorching under foot, and so the man approached the trees, which now perched, in their hundreds, everywhere upon that placid beach. And, as he stepped into their gentle shade, he thought they rustled, although there was no wind, thought their branches did, but by a millimetre twitch. Greeting him, as if he was a long forgotten friend.

A single tree caught his sunken eye, its trunk now ancient, and the grizzled branches were, no more festooned with leaves. The old man smiled, a single tear rolled down his withered face, and dropped, into the never ending sea.

Photo by Sura Nualpradid. Published on 14 March 2013
Stock photo – Image ID: 100146994

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