‘Caul’ is a short story about the passage of time and how memory is what ties us to our existence. In this short story, the narrator observes and understands what was taking place in his family and the lives of his neighbours; through this understanding, he empathises with their experiences. No matter how much time passes, memory is still relevant and is part of identity — even if the physical environment has changed, the history that underpins a place is still relevant.
In this living state of existence, we are constantly faced with the inevitability of death, although our self-preservation instincts may try to avoid the topic until its inevitability becomes unavoidable. Memories fade and evolve, and we must ponder that which is lost or forgotten as much as that which is remembered.
“What Trees Feel Like” explores humans’ relationship with nature and asks how we tell stories about ourselves. It sheds light on how we center ourselves in our narratives and allow other important aspects to fade into the background.
Travel can open our eyes to experiences we never could have dreamed of — but, how important is exploration to personal growth? Can experiencing other cultures and societies serve to unite us or alienate us? Travel can make our world feel Infinitesimally small or boundless and immeasurably vast depending on perspective.
The piece deals primarily with the absence of home, solitude, silence, secrecy, the passage of time, individual memory, and the willingness to admit and wrestle with contradictions, anger, destruction, and creation. How do we deal with contradictions in ourselves? Do we know they’re there? How does prolonged silence, uninterrupted aloneness, or living without a home affect the individual mind? How resilient are we against the human traumas we put ourselves through?