On a foggy, rainy day, when the humans were all either inside or rushing down the street with their heads down, neither looking right nor left, the trees had a family reunion. In small groups here and there, the dryads left their trees and floated to the gathering place out in the woods.
They drank deep from the lake and then sat on the soft green moss, waiting for the meeting to begin. Finally, Grandfather Oak stood, his gray-green beard brushing his toes. “It’s been decades since we last met,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see that there are so many of us left. Everyone will get a chance to tell us what is new in their patch of earth.”
“I don’t think everyone is here yet,” a young city tree said. “The little green trees haven’t arrived.”
“Who are the little green trees?” Grandfather Oak asked.
“I haven’t talked to them, but I’ve seen them through the windows of the human houses. They stand on little saucers and interact with the humans. After a while, they just disappear. I think maybe the humans eat them,” the young tree said.
“Humans don’t eat trees,” Grandfather Oak said.
“Perhaps they’re baby trees,” the young tree said.
“Did they look like saplings?” Granny Smith asked.
“Well no, they looked like full-grown trees, just shrunk smaller,” the young tree said.
“Perhaps they’re not trees at all,” a fir tree said. “Maybe they’re some sort of human food made to look like us in order to show their respect.”
The trees murmured in approval. The young tree rustled. “But they looked like little trees,” he said.
“Maybe they’re from another planet and flew here on their saucer,” a rowan tree said.
“Do you think their saucer has a shrink ray and that’s why they’re so small?” an ash tree asked.
“Why are they visiting the humans and not us?” Granny Smith asked. “That doesn’t seem natural.”
“Perhaps they’ve been captured,” the young tree said. “We should rescue them.” The younger trees all began talking at once.
“Quiet,” Grandfather Oak said. “Young tree, keep an image of these trees in your mind, and I will give you the words to call them here.”
The young tree repeated the words. In moments, several small green elves sat on the ground in front of the dryads. They looked confused. “Welcome,” Grandfather Oak said.
The green elves responded in quick, high-pitched voices. Grandfather Oak shook his head. “We don’t understand you. Can you understand us?”
The elves chattered with each other and finally one stepped forward. “Hello,” he said very slowly.
“Hello,” Grandfather Oak said. “Who are you?”
“Broccoli,” the elf said.
“Are you a tree?”
“What is a tree?” the elf asked.
“We are trees,” Grandfather Oak said.
“We are not you,” the elf said. “We are broccoli.”
“And what is broccoli?” Grandfather Oak asked.
“Are you from another planet?” The young tree asked.
“Maybe,” the elf said. Then, with a snap of his finger, all the elves disappeared.
“They weren’t trees,” Granny Smith said. “Trees don’t act or sound like that.”
“Unless they’re alien trees,” a rowan tree said.
“It’s neat to know that there are trees living so far away,” an ash tree said. “I’ll remember that as I look at the stars at night.”
“Well, I’m ready to go home. That was too much excitement for one day,” a pine tree said. Several other trees agreed.
“But what about our meeting?” Granny Smith asked.
“Don’t worry,” Grandfather Oak said. “We can meet again in another twenty years. We have plenty to think about until then.” And with that, the meeting was over and the trees went home.