They say that when there is a perfect combination of tides and storms, then you might see them. The trees. The trees that last stood tall three thousand years ago. There again for a night and then gone. Some say they make up for the past three thousand years by exploding in one night to tremendous heights and blossoming with the richest tapestry of leaves and flowers. This is a sight that is rarely seen and even more rarely believed. The believers explain that after being buried for thousands of years under the ocean, the ancient wood now grows by the light of the moon and stars rather than by the harsh light of the sun. They further say that this event can only take place with the right solar currents, the right movement in the exosphere, the right phase of the moon, the right breath in the night. A still smaller group of locals—salt-worn and stoic—say that on even rarer occasions, the sea will withdraw even further, revealing buried animals from further back in time, like Mastodons and Smilodons. While slow given their many centuries under the water, they will briefly breed and give birth. Then all will promptly be buried by the tides for another eon. No one has seen this in living memory, but some who fish the waters say that on a day when the visibility is clear below, you can see the tops of their forms, buried in the sand, waiting for their brief time on land. Others say that it doesn’t matter if this is so or not. The trees and animals aren’t that interesting and are only around for a brief moment they will probably never see. What’s the interest in that? And they go back to drinking their bottles of beer.
Geoffrey Orens studied writing at Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches high school English and art history in New York City.