Sloths to a Flame

5 Sep

Sloth in a tree

 

Felix and Gilbert were hanging in a tree doing what sloths do best, relaxing in the hot afternoon sun. They were also observing Dale, who was busy collecting buds that were particular to the season and also considered a delicacy to the species.

“That Dale! Who does he think he is, making us look bad for doing what we’re supposed to do?” Felix grumbled.

“It ain’t natural, Felix” Gilbert lazily answered.

Dale overheard the conversation but he didn’t let it bother him. He was used to it. Ever since he was a kid, he had more energy that the other sloths. He was never content just hanging in a tree.

The council of elders tried many interventions. There was counseling, homeopathic therapies, even pseudo-medicinal rituals involving chanting, rainforest plants and dancing. Nothing took the wind out of his sails. The elders reluctantly gave up and let him be an active sloth.

Dale spent weeks collecting and stowing buds in hollowed, fallen trees. He garnered enough buds for many times more sloths than were in the group in which he lived, yet he felt compelled to gather more. When he slept he dreamt about buds.

A few weeks later Felix and Gilbert were hanging in their favorite tree when the sun was slowly covered by a thick grey that wasn’t cloud formations.

“What do you think that is, Gilbert?” Felix asked.

“I don’t know, Felix but it don’t look good” was his only response.

Little did they know, the rain forest all around them was ablaze. Pure coincidence protected them. A few geographical features, like a wide stream to the north and a sheer rock face to the east were keeping them safe.

Close to evening a massive group of foreign sloths slowly dragged themselves to their safe spot.

“We’ve made it! We are safe!” the leader said as he looked back to his comrades. The news was met by a hail of cheers.

“Not so fast!” Felix said, “What do you all think you are doing here?”

“We’ve escaped unthinkable horrors! The forest is burning. There has been a lot of death and destruction. Please, show mercy, let us stay. At least until the fires die down…” he pleaded.

“There aren’t enough leaves in this patch of land for all of us! You might have survived these fires, but we’ll all die from starvation if you stay!” Felix shot back.

“Can I say something?” Dale meekly interjected.

“What could you possibly have to say, you busy body?” Felix snapped.

“With all due respect” Dale said, “We most certainly do have enough food for us and them. And for a good while”

“How so?” Felix asked, genuinely curious.

“I have buds stored all over the place. Almost every fallen tree from here to the outer edges is stuffed with them. There might be enough for months” he answered.

The group was so quiet one could hear the distant crackle of the burning jungle. “All right, you can stay until the situation improves” Felix said.

The crown roared with joy. In a few weeks the rains put out the remaining fires. The displaced sloths found a suitable home fairly close to their new found friends.

 

5 Responses to “Sloths to a Flame”

  1. umashankar September 6, 2019 at 2:20 am #

    That is a very allegorical tale. Dale is a squirrel in a sloth’s skin. And Felix and the gang are humans in the garb of sloths.

    • Ryan September 6, 2019 at 12:52 pm #

      Nice! I love seeing my stories through other people’s eyes.
      I liked the idea of the oxymoron “the busy sloth” and of course, when one is very different from the group they can be mocked, criticized, etc. It’s usually the “oxymorons” who have the biggest impact on a group. Thanks for reading!!!!!

  2. Eric Tonningsen September 6, 2019 at 3:13 am #

    If only the rains could/would put out the fires. I feel for your homeland. Cute story… analogous to when humanity answers a call.

    • Ryan September 6, 2019 at 12:54 pm #

      Thanks Eric! The rains will only be coming in a few months!!! It is really sad what is going on. The ironic part is, the more the forest burns, the less rain there will be in a future. Large swaths of Brazil have already become desert because of human activity. Now the whole nation is poised to suffer the same fate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: