When he died they offered a him new life: go back as anyone – or anything. He could be rich, famous, talented. A woman or an eagle, a saint or a sinner, a miracle man or a humble monk out in the backwoods.

Whatever challenge he needed to face, whatever he longed to learn this time around, it was there, open to him. “Choose.”

“I’ll be a tree,” he told them. “Quiet and still for hundreds of years, watching time flow by.”

No one argued or tried to dissuade him. It was his life and he had chosen it.

He’s there still, the wise one, of whom so much was expected, out in the middle of a field in the West Country. He forgot all about changing the world and setting others free. All he cares about is leaves and acorns, the wind and sun, deep roots and Spring rain.

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