Mourning Woodfiled March 31, 2023
Core value #56 of The InQueery mission statement cites our reverence for, and attunement to, nature. Mother Earth, after all, is Gaia. But despite our investigaytions into queer bugs, queer houseplants, and even queer water features, the dark clouds of climate dread continue to gather. Our attempts to inspire direct action have fallen short.
In an effort to better understand the realities of the climate crisis, we tasked a crack team of reformed Disney Adults with bringing said crisis onto The Inqueery campus. These Imaginqueers took Core Value #6 as their inspiration: Queers need a bit of magic™ to believe in what’s real.
After months of development, we are thrilled to taste the fruits of our foray into amusement park innovation. At the nexus of nature, technology, and subtly queer-coded nostalgia, we bring you a tram-style gay marriage of Na’vi River Journey and the Hall of Presidents. Real-life lesbian Linda Hunt, the voice of Grandmother Willow, narrates this literally moving eulogy to those undersung queer heroes: fictional talking trees who meet untimely ends.
First, take a stroll to the southern end of our campus, where you’ll find our woodland preserve has been augmented to include a to-scale replica of the dying fig tree from Pan’s Labyrinth. Running through her trunk you’ll find the gayest natural water source, a babbling brook. A hollowed log bobs on the bank. The voice of actual lesbian Linda Hunt rasps, “Step in, child.”
The current takes us downstream and soon we are deep within a grove of gnarled trees, heavy with fruit. But keep your hands inside the log at all times, for these are the Fighting Trees of Oz! Though they may seem like no friend of Dorothy, we see now that these trees grew hardened from a lifetime of getting picked on. Watch in horror as these proud figures are turned to mulch by an ax-wielding oil addict with no heart. Before you cry, “that’s not what happened in the movie!” maybe think about picking up an e-book once in a while, honey.
Ahead on the left, you’ll see The Giving Tree. We’ll pause here to watch the familiar story play out as the tree slowly gives every inch of itself to someone who can’t love them back. Scholars have posited the tale may be a metaphor for sado-masochism, in which case we will not kink-shame, but this tragic tale mostly remains a mystery. Look at the way she lets herself be torn limb from trunk. We, too, have wondered why. But in the end we’re stumped.
Around the river bend, the water flows into the gaping maw of The Great Deku tree from the Legend of Zelda video game franchise. This wizened deity is not only daddy to all within his shadow, but speaks fairy and is secretly housing a giant spider queen. Below your seat you’ll find an ocarina of your own. Just put your lips together and blow the Minuet of Forest so The Great Deku Tree will bestow his jewels upon you before withering away under Ganon’s curse.
In one fell swoop, the great tree crumbles and our hollowed log is carried skyward by an unseen force. “Rockabyeee baby on the treetop,” a low voice rumbles. We are now in the care of Treebeard, Tolkien’s “queer”, “half-knowing” and “half-humorous” Ent. Treebeard lifts the log before his extraordinary face, unhastily sizing up each rider. His eyes fall as he moans “no one cares for the woods anymore,” and tosses us like a twig into outer space.
Below us we see not the green planet we left, but Planet X, home of Flora Clossus (roughly translated: Big Pansy). This is a perfect vantage point from which to watch the rise and fall of Groot. Stiff of larynx, subsisting only on wood, he is forced from his home for defending a maintenance mammal. Out in the big wide universe he is free to love the mammals he chooses (enter Rocket Raccoon) and fight injustice alongside his chosen family (enter The Guardians of the Galaxy). Hold onto your logs, though. Things are about to get gnarly.
A starship roars past…headed directly toward the Guardians! In a serious feat of animatronics, Groot’s limbs grow in all directions to shield our helpless heroes from the crashing craft. Engorging twigs writhe and harden. With his last breath, before getting blown to smithereens, we hear that throaty voice cry out: We. Are. Groot.
Dry your tears. From the wreckage bursts forth a sapling. Before our eyes, it grows to full size and full beat! This is no Baby Groot, but Season 13’s Kahmora Hall as Ash Tree from the RuPaul Mark Movie “Misery Loves Company!” Unfortunately, her greenscreen and greasepaint bark had no bite. After you hear her wooden parody of Tyra’s iconic, “We were all rooting for you!” you’ll barely flinch when this talking tree gets the chop. Ru’s maniacal laughter rings out as our little log sashays away.
Around the final turn we come to a pristine forest of gently swaying truffula trees. Before you have the chance to even think, “Truffula trees can’t talk!” their mustachioed spokesbeing drops from an overhanging branch.
That diminutive daddy, The Lorax by name,
Shakes his fingies at you as if you are to blame.
He grabs hold of your head and he turns it with force
So you can’t look away as his tale runs its course
You watch swinging machines slicing tenderous trunk.
How the pickers they pick! How the chunkers they chunk!
Each tree lands one by one with a sploosh in the brook
And you realize what part we are at in the book.
Now the forest’s been cleared it is plainer to see
That before you is none but a Thneed factory
And the current is drawing each tree to its doom
Making zero exceptions for you and your flume.
You hear thrashers and crunchers and slicers draw near
And you squeeze your eyes shut as you shrivel in fear.
You assumed this was harmless! A silly new ride!
Not the place where your gravestone will say that you died!
Just as soon as you’re sure that your moment has come
All the noises that scared you reduce to a hum.
No more terror, no Lorax, no thneeds and no gore.
Just the end of the ride and a chipper gift store.
Your feet touch solid ground at last. At first the lights are blinding, but then you can make out the edges of a licensed replica of The Rainforest Cafe’s Tracey Tree. “Thank you for riding Mourning Wood,” she says as you’re drawn to an array of InQueery branded goods emblazoned with phrases that let the world know you care:
“I rode the Mourning Wood and all I got was this sustainable tree shirt”
“It’s Giving *Tree*”
“The Lorax Could Not Be Reached for Comment”
Conclusion: Tree Museum? More like Tree *Experience*.
Queer Rating: Linden blossoms in spring.