Wood

Usually, tree branches are made of wood. From hornbeam to maple and aspen to ash there are so many beautiful variations of wood. How did the universe learn to make astounding organic wood? Was wood always elegant, or were there embarrassing amateurish early prototypes of wood that were hidden away in shame? And we mustn’t forget that some trees are not made of wood at all; some trees are made of alloys or metals and covered in shimmery tinsel instead of leaves, while others are 3D printed from plastics by hobbyists in their mid-twenties eager to make use of their new machines and test out the latest versions of their CADs.

New Johnny Appleseed recently won a scholarship that allowed her to travel anywhere she wanted to spread her seeds. To everyone’s surprise except maybe yours, she chose Simone. Not many humans knew of Simone, but Johnny had heard about it twice—most recently from a duck who had flown south to enjoy a warm, lazy winter. Many Simonian ducks opted to stay there year-round due to the impeccably pure air and relatively comfortable climate, but this duck also happened to be an avid drinker, and alcoholic beverages were heavily taxed in Simone. Who was doing the taxing and where were the taxes going? We don’t know the answer to the question of who, but we suspect that a large amount of the taxes were going towards light rail construction and hiring guest lecturers for physics lessons. Anyway, the night New Johnny met the duck, the duck was swimming in Buckfast and rambling about places that she was relatively certain did not exist. He sounded a bit like Donald Duck (or was it Daffy Duck?) in a rage, spitting and slobbering all over himself as he spoke. Patiently, Johnny asked the duck where he was from. The duck couldn’t believe Johnny had heard of his summer home and drunkenly detailed it’s existence in the same ways he had to those who had never heard of it before. If Johnny found this insulting or annoying it didn’t show.

New Johnny Appleseed’s father, Old Johnny Appleseed, was a notorious pioneer and, though he never left North America, he had amassed a collection of world maps throughout his life. When she was seven or eight years old,  New Johnny would sit next to the fireplace with her father and, together, they would examine the maps and share the stories they had heard from travellers about places whose names they didn’t know how to pronounce. Simone was on none of those maps. In 1843, two years before her father’s death, a man referring to himself as The Batman time travelled to their quaint Indiana home. He had originally planned to descend head first down their chimney, but after smelling the smoke from the burning apple wood bellowing out, he decided to climb down off of their roof and make a more conservative front door entrance.

Johnny and her father Johnny welcomed in The Batman and offered him warm K Cider with cinnamon. He told them he couldn’t stay for long because he had a business trip to a few cities in Asia coming up, but they insisted, so he accepted the cider. When two Johnny Appleseeds offer you cider it’s hard to turn it down. After making small talk about the weather and distributed databases, more specifically block chain, The Batman revealed that the real reason he was there was not to pretend to be some sort of Santa or to drink cider. He had a very important gift. Out of his pocket, he pulled an iPhone 5. But this was not just any iPhone 5—it was an iPhone 5s that had been modified to connect to the internet despite it being 140-147 (depending on definitions) years before the internet was invented. It was in a subreddit on this mobile phone that New Johnny Appleseed first caught wind of Simone.

When she found out about her scholarship being granted, Johnny went on Instagram and started looking for photos geotagged in Simone. This was how she found Charles Potashner. He posted all the time and she wasn’t too sure about him at first. He had been sharing everything from close-ups of a single blade of grass to pictures of ducks splashing about as if they owned the pond. In fact, one of the photos even referred to the ducks as being egomaniacs and, being an animal lover, she was distrusting of anyone who would speak so negatively of ducks. Still, he seemed to have a genuine appreciation for the pond in Simone, and the surrounding hillsides, and she thought he may have some ideas of places to visit while she was there. Also, the main purpose of her visit was to plant appleseeds and she wasn’t sure where she would be legally allowed to do so and Charles somehow seemed like someone who may have some insights into that kind of thing. Johnny had spent hours on Google, but there was no information to be found about where trees are permitted to be planted and where they are not. They arranged to meet at three PM on a Tuesday in front of Charles’ favourite oak tree. They both showed up exactly on time.

When Charles Potashner met Johnny Appleseed crickets started singing and the world, which had begun to settle down, once again wiggled like shook jello. Time peace’d out for a quarter of a century, he forgot the naysaying voice of God, and blueberry wine began to run down the hillsides. Neither of them was sure what all this meant. It seemed to indicate that their meeting was of some sort of vast importance, but it also put a lot of pressure on them. They kind of wished the crickets would shut up.