In an island far far away there once was a forest of really good looking palm trees. Really, these weren’t just any old palm trees. These were ridiculously good looking palm trees. The kind that people travel from the neighboring cities to take pictures of, or even just to stare at. The majority of them were on an island south of Hawaii, and the others had been poached by foreigners interested in monetizing these rare gems.
The island was well known for its folklore, native culture, & interpretive dance. The native people believed the trees held significant power over the forces of the universe and that one wrong move and the trees could destroy the entire island and humanity.
They were only partially right.
The trees were unable to destroy humanity. The trees did hold significant power and as so much, had the power to destroy the entire island. This power was demonstrated in February many suns ago. On the island, months were not tracked and there were no seasons except for sunny and beautiful…all of the time. Predictably, every month it would rain two days, providing enough water for the vegetation and for use by the native people. Their rainwater and irrigation systems were very efficient for a culture so old fashioned and removed from technological advances. Thus, their water needs were low and they could survive on two days of delectable rainfall.
One of the biggest controversies of the island was tourism. Allowing foreigners to explore the island was seen by many as a lucrative business opportunity. However, there was also a collection of natives who believed that foreigners could destroy the pristine and seclusive nature of the island and bring many modern inconveniences to corrupt the island people and culture. Like many things on the island, this remained unsettled by the unsophisticated government. The government chose not to mettle in this issue, but rather let the people work it out in the free market.
The divide became stronger and more vocal. Those in support of tourism named themselves the Touries, while the group not interested in tourism referred to them as the Tourables (a play on Terrible, of course). The anti-tourism people called themselves the Freeies, but the Touries called them the Freapies (based off Freakies). Clearly, they weren’t the most creative people.
The separation escalated to group colors, uniforms, and other more discreet forms of segregation, like passive aggressive judgements. No one was really direct in this culture. In fact, it was socially unacceptable to be brutally honest if it was at all controversial or not supportive of the community as a whole. A bit strange considering the community didn’t have consistent beliefs as a whole. The unspoken anger and beliefs between the two groups poisoned their minds and the vibe on the island. It’s as if everyone knew what the other was thinking, without really knowing. Assumptions were made and stories were made up, making the situation heat up that much more.
The unspoken words became undone actions which because executed actions which was ugly. Times got dark. The people uprooted their families to move to their respective side of the island. The Touries moved to the north side of the island, while the Freeies took over the southern half. All without words, negotiations, contracts. All unspoken decisions.
A rebel group formed with members of both tribes…dissatisfied Touries and Freeies formed the Radicals, which moved to the center of the island and were active in plotting to end the turmoil. They were the most objective about the situation and saw what the disagreements were doing to their culture and the island.
Oddly enough, the trees started to follow suit. Their leaves started to dim and the roots weaken. They began to look more ill and less the sparkly attractive trees they were before. This of course frustrated everyone. In the midst of starting tourism related businesses, the Touries were unable to capture images to market their previously beautiful island. The Freeies missed the pristine serenity they aspired to preserve. Their respective plans were crumbling before their eyes. The Radicals remained objective and didn’t know what to make of the failing trees. They saw it as a sign of the bad island mojo, but didn’t know how to change it.
The island became cold and the sun less bright. A complete oddity for the island. In attempt to stay warm the Radicals discovered a way to start fire and operated a small bonfire in the middle of the island. The fire was small and controllable. Fire had not previously been introduced on the island, so the Radicals were overjoyed with their creation, but promised themselves to keep it small and solely as a means to keep themselves warm in 65 degree weather they weren’t used to. The fire remained small and contained, but even so was more powerful than its size showed.
On the north and south sides of the island the Touries and Freeies panicked. Their plans were broken and they were losing everything they had hoped for. Moping in their passive aggressiveness, almost instantaneously, one member of each tribe noticed a bright light coming from the forest of palm trees. The light got brighter and the natives began to wonder. Then, as it grew and spread, the natives notified the rest of their tribes, which both followed in similar manners, grabbed their most important belongings and head into the light. They considered it a special symbol from the trees, as a way for them to exert their power, and signify that something significant was coming.
Something significant was coming.
Minutes later (it was a small island after all) every native person was at the center of the island, near the Radicals camp. Their small fire was out, but the leaves of all of the palm trees blazed with bright orange, yellow, blue, and purple flames. Such a miraculous site. The natives continued to believe this was a sign of something great. All began to dance around together, in their native interpretative dance form. The interpretation was positive. They thought this meant the trees were reviving and the island will be saved. Quite the opposite. The trees continued to burn and the island was left barren and ashy. The native people mortified. Their depression led them to boredom which forced them to decide how to spend their time.
Use your imagination and come up with some ideas…what did the native people do post-island destruction?
mel, the venture gal