“She Became a Shelter”
The temple workers lovingly carried the whorled trunk of the tree to the spot where it would serve as a vital structural column. As it lay on the earth awaiting its erection, the congregation took notice; for they could see that it was a woman, whose body had grown into a tree. “It has taken me 83 years to evolve this form,” she said. Her head, lovely and majestic, rose from the top of the bole. And all her limbs, her torso, hands, and feet wound down through it as though carved by the most masterly of sculptors. At the end of her human life, she had submitted to the secret process, so that she could bring shade to the sweltering, provide a hiding place for sporting children, and serve as a rendezvous for lovers. Now she would forever support the temple.