Grey, concrete and dank. Ramona’s residents hated it. And secretly they hated themselves for letting it get this far. All of the green had been swallowed up by soulless constructs if scaffold and mortar and never did they try to halt it happening. And now they wanted it back. But it was too late. They tried to rationalize what they had done. How they needed to expand to accommodate a growing population, how extra buildings would house new technologies and how in modernity they just didn’t need nature any more.
The guilt of it all weighed on them and as it was self-inflicted an appropriate amount of self loathing went with it.
As Ramona slowly suffocated its habitants they looked for a way out, a return to nature. Scouting parties drove outwards in search of new lands but always returned with bad news and reports of failure.
Hope was slowly abandoned and Ramona gradually accepted its fate clutched in the soulless grip of stone and steel. At least until a search party returned. They had been forgotten having been gone for so long. Wearing beards (males and females), their hair was long and matted, entwined with twigs and leaves, clothes torn and frayed. And they brought good news. They had found somewhere. Somewhere green, natural, habitable.
Ramona’s residents rejoiced. They started packing, felt the burden of their old lives slipping away, forming a convoy ready to move out. Before they did so the search party informed them of their new dwellings. It’s a forest they said, verdant and lush, filled with animals and wonderous flora. The ground they continued is uneven, impossible to build on and as such they lived in tree houses high above the forest floor, linked with rope bridges. It is a treacherous existence they said but it’s also the happiest they had ever been.
So, who wants in?
Everyone did. And the convoy rolled out, leaving Ramona desolate and empty. Travel lasted five days, the forest reached on the night of the fifth day. It was just as the search party described it. It was their Shangri-La and this time they would not ruin it.
Despite everything Ramona had been through the name did appeal to them and the residents kept it. And in the trees Ramona flourished. Tree houses of all shapes and sizes sprung up. Pagodas, teepee’s, wigwams, cabins and huts. Complemented by churches, monasteries and temples. Along side libraries and schools. They all occupied there spaces in the trees bound together by bridges of wood and vines.
In time everyone got used to the animals. Monkeys sauntered through front doors, rainbow feathered birds flew through open windows and leafed lizards clambered along interlocking strands. Even spiders gained acceptance despite some protestations.
And for every tree used for construction seven more are/were planted without fail.
Occasionally Ramona’s thoughts drift back to its former existence. They wonder if the old city still stands or if is has crumbled into rubble. Then, they look at were they are now, how happy they are and go wandering the rope bridges high amongst the trees.