Arboreal Despair

[WP] For many, Arbor day is a barely noticeable holiday. For you, it is a grim reminder of what they took from you.

"It's hard being a druid in the 21st century." Valerie thought to herself. Her kind had been forced into secrecy long ago. Many in their community blamed the so-called "industrial revolution," but in truth it went back well beyond that. Humanity had lost its respect for nature early in its development. As soon as nomadic life stopped and civilization began, the druidic way began to crumble. Many druids had learned to cope, but today was different. This was their day of mourning, a day of reflection unlike any other in their culture.

Today, was Arbor Day. For most it was just a holiday to brush off. A select few would go out and plant a tree, or make a donation that likely did little more than give the person a momentary feeling of do-goodery. Sure, posters with PSAs about the importance of trees lay plastered on nearly every wall, but who really took the warnings to heart? Even scare tactics about a loss of global oxygen wasn't enough to bring these people around. Of course, these ads were made by the druids, in an attempt to modernize their campaigns. Turns out posters focusing on the magic of nature are taken for either fantasy or, as most colloquially call it, "hippie mumbo jumbo." The oxygen campaign had increased non-druid attention exponentially, but that still was only a small fraction of the global population. Not nearly enough to make a difference.

That was only part of the druids' hatred for the holiday, though. Their true disdain came from what it represented. Arbor Day existed solely as a response to the destruction of nature. It was a day that signified the break in connection between humanity and the soil we were born from. And to the druids, it symbolized the destruction of their culture and traditions.

While the rest of the world pretended to care, the druids took the day to reflect on their past, and prepare for their future. Many tears were shed at the gathering. Effigies raised in the old manner, the manner of the druids of yore who spoke to the plants themselves, dotted the field. Nothing in that sacred place was created by industrial means. Not a single mark of a blade or saw, nor the decoration of hand carving or fire burning would be found there. This was a place of mutual respect between man and nature, as well as a shared sorrow.

Each year, a speaker was chosen. Someone important in the community. Someone who could properly articulate what it meant to be a druid, and what the community needed to do in the coming years. Today, Valerie was that person. She had thought long and hard about what her speech should be. She was young, one of the youngest to ever be chosen for the speech. How could she top the speeches that had been given in years prior? All her life she had been just another face in the ground, another voice calling out in agony, another supplier of tears as they fell like rain upon the lush grass beneath their feet. This time would be different. It had to be.

As she took the stage and stood at the finely crafted podium - made from good old fashion tree singing of course - Valerie, knew she needed to keep her speech relateable. Gone were the days of fancy language and arbitrary promises that would lead nowhere. This was a new generation, a young generation; a generation that had inherited the burdens of their fathers and needed someone to help them bear the vast weight on their shoulders. Honesty could be the only way forward. With that in mind, Valerie drew a deep breath, wiped a stray tear from her cheek, and proclaimed boldly, "It's hard being a druid in the 21st century."

 The Arbiter of Time Lighting the Candle