She saw the blazing inferno creeping toward her. Smoke filled the air so she could barely see the forest animals racing past her to escape. She couldn’t move, the flames already surrounded her.
Fire seared her skin and she spared a moment of worry for the treasured tattoo she’d worn for the last fifty years: K + J. It was a reminder of a gentler time.
As the heat rose she released her children, hundreds per cone. They had waited twenty years for this fire to free them. The flames were painful but the joy she felt as she watched the seeds spread in all directions sustained her. She would survive as she always did.
It would be many years before her offspring were tall enough to touch the sky but the forest would grow stronger because of her momentary suffering.
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