The trunk of The Great Tree branches at last, one hundred metres above the forest floor. Its canopy spreads so wide that approaching from the air it appears more a copse than a single tree.
The birds find it easily. From Siberia and across the Asian continent they come. Migratory seabirds arrive, a long way from their shores but times demand their presence. They come to represent the farthest corners of the planet, the Americas, Africa. Delegates arrive from each of the icy poles around which the great orb rotates.
A universal linguist, the lyrebird translates the others’ tweets and squarks and calls. Their concerns, no matter from where they eminate, are alike. The destruction. The patience that has long been exhausted. The need for action. They know the answer will come from within their diminishing realm.
Call what they propose a virus if you like, but to the birds it is nothing more than the mist of the forest, the salt on the spray, the dust of the desert. It is real in a way the destruction is not. It belongs in the world for a reason, and the reason is upon them. A strategy is agreed. A coordinated release. World-around the infection will be carried. World-around it will be felt. It will not discriminate. The time for siding with good or bad is past. The destroyers have control. The birds must take it back.
The tremendous flock that rises above the forest is made up of birds from every corner. There song is beautitul and sad and strident. It echoes a warning. Even as they fly to their homelands they pass above the dozers, the chains and wrecking balls, the fires, the chainsaws. A road snakes inwards from the burning edge towards the valley of The Great Tree.