Long ago, there was nothing. Chaos existed within the nothing; not a corporeal being, she simply existed. She could feel nothing other than the power within the nothing that she could harness. Within the nothing, there was nothing. No air, no life, no sound.
No sound, and yet Chaos heard a quiet drumming. A steady rhythm of beat, beat, pause, throughout Chaos’ being. She felt a second pattern of drumming and released it into the nothing as well, and Time came into existence. As Time passed through the nothing, he became confused, knowing he existed but having no corporeal body of his own, and knowing Chaos existed, but having no evidence due to her constant nonexistence as well. Chaos saw this confusion, and brought forth from the nothing a mass called Earth. From the Earth, she fashioned bodies for both herself and for Time, alleviating Time’s confusion once he found that they indeed existed in physical reality. On this Earth she created water, and she created a sun to light the sky. From this Earth she fabricated trees, each one of a varying height and color. These trees were all different, and upon them she placed leaves for beauty and seeds so they could continue reproducing and spreading across the lands. She planned to create more, to forge creations from the depths of the Earth unlike any Time could imagine. Before she was able to execute her plan of beauty and life throughout the Earth, Chaos ended, unable to exist in the order of this new world.
Time was left alone, with nothing to do on this earth. As Time passed on Earth, he grew lonely, and his hearing grew sharper. Being alone had forced him to notice even the subtlest thoughts from the life around him. He heard, though it was almost feeling rather than hearing, the trees calling out to him; Let us dance, let us sing. Let us celebrate upon our Earth. He knew that he could not create life, but he was able to harness the shreds of power Chaos left behind to create change. He wished to have companions to join him, and so he reached towards the only life on Earth; the trees. He gave the trees the breath of consciousness, and those within the reaches of the sun stretched their branches skyward. Their bark began to smooth out, forming skin, each tree having a different tone. The branches formed long, graceful limbs, and the roots pulled from the ground. The newly formed legs carried the trees towards Time, who waited on the shore of the grand ocean. Every step they took, their skin stretched over their arms and legs, the knots in their wood turning to birthmarks, and faces formed, radiating a euphoric sense of love towards the world and towards each other. Their leaves fell, hitting the Earth and sprouting into flowers, hitting the water and drifting to the bottom, becoming marine flora. Their seeds fell, hitting the Earth and becoming all the animals that walk the land, hitting the water and shifting into all the animals that swim the seas. They looked around, seeing that there was no longer light in the sky by which they could view each other and the new creatures, and grew panicked, not knowing what had happened. Time explained to the people of the trees that the sun moved around the Earth, making the night’s dark. They grew scared, and cold, and begged Time bring some light back to the Earth for them, and so he did.
Time reached to the sky and plucked out pieces of the sun. He tossed them high into the air, and quickly created a protective shield around the Earth so they wouldn’t cause destruction upon the lands. These shards of light spread amongst the sky, and the largest was caught on the farthest corner of the shield. It spins along with the Earth, and the night is no longer dark. The people danced. They sang. They listened to the rustling leaves in those trees that did not change, and they remembered where they came from.
Watching his people dance, Time smiled. He knew that this was his work, and that it was done. When he laid down to rest, the laughter of his people changed him into a tree; naming him after the valleys where he lay, they called him Dalarna. There Time has stood, in the form of a tree, for 9,550 years, watching over the pulchritudinous people for all of time.
Illustration by Amelia Katz