Isabella Saeedy, age 17
“Isabella Saeedy was a member of the WriteGirl community who passed away this summer from cancer. She was a hardworking, bubbly, imaginative and inquisitive seventeen-year-old whose passion for screenwriting was matched by her passions for science, surfing and humanity itself. Though she did not share her illness with most people, it was a driving force in her life. Her private obstacles challenged her to learn, grow and constantly create. As her mentor, I am so humbled that her work is included in this literary journal. It’s one of the many ways Isabella’s legacy will be shared and celebrated.”
– Shelby Leshine, WriteGirl Mentor
Tree of Life
excerpted monologue from The Tree
First of all, I don’t even know what dead means.
Does dead mean lifeless and lacking color? Then the florets of mature dandelions would be considered dead, yet when a mighty wind blows, their seeds embed in the soil and sprout many more.
The possum enters a catatonic state when threatened by an aggressor, but it’s not dead.
When you see an ant crawling around on the floor in a pompous manner, you assume the sharp pressure of a shoe would arrest it. However, when you lift that shoe up, the ant still marches away.
A tree whose trunk has lost its deep brown color, whose leaves no longer reflect a magnificent green, its photosynthetic abilities reduced to the toot of a small whistle – one might say this tree is dead.
Even I, lost in my own self-deprecating thoughts, said this tree was dead. How can one be alive if it simply does not do anything? What would even be the point in that?
For so long, I wanted to be something that I couldn’t: To have hands like you. Feet that touch the earth like you. To be human.
But I am a tree. And even in this state – which I want to remind you is not how I was born to be – I still have my purpose.
On my thinning branches, a young bird can still sit and watch the world down below. My small stature is the perfect size for a child needing refuge from the sun. The small fruits I produce are perfect for a starving ant to feast on for days. The oxygen I release still helps our world combat carbon dioxide in the air.
Even if you think my presence here does not impact your life, it does. And my abilities, along with everybody in the tree community, help you live in a better world.
So if you want your lungs to be congested with fossil fuels or a surplus of ants bombarding your every meal, I say cut me down. I can’t stop you. My friend, the choice is yours.