Many years ago, an intrepid explorer carried with him a single seed collected from a majestic tree that had once flourished in his homeland. The seed carrier's quest led him to a land of hope and promise, the land we now call home.
Here he sowed the seed with expectation.
Over the years that followed that seed grew to be a mighty tree, a tree that was nourished by the sun that shone it's life giving light and drank deeply from the water that seeped around it roots.
The tree bore wonderful fruit in its season; fruit that blessed the many people who gathered to find shelter under its outreached boughs and comfort in the shade it threw.
For many years the tree grew in strength and prestige; word spread around the world of it's life-giving fruit.
Fresh, delicious, crisp, cool apples.
There are those alive today who can still remember those apples. If they were to pause in a quiet place, and if they were to quiet their minds long enough, some may even recall the taste that lingers on their tongue.
Those apples are now but a memory of a fading dream.
A worm crept into that mighty tree.
A deceitful serpent-like worm that began to slowly rot the tree from the inside out.
Most did not notice the yellowed leaves and flaking bark.
Most did not discern the retreating shade and sparse canopy.
Until the year that the tree did not bear fruit.
Their beautiful tree. Their majestic tree.
Their apple tree.
So now the shadow that was once a tree is filled with plastic apples.
"We cannot lose the fruit", they cried, "the tree must remain the same as it always has".
The people could not bear to face the reality that their tree was dying, so they stuck plastic apples to it.
And when the plastic apples fell, as plastic apples are prone to do, the people faithfully gathered them and stuck them once again to the stalk-like fragments that remained.
The people sought out adhesive experts, men who could produce wonderfully sticky goo. Industry leading speakers held conferences on how to retain your stick, the best sticking methods and even how to gather fallen plastic apples in the most effective way.
The dying tree must not look dead.
Some of the older people of the land can still remember the gardener, the one who came to prune the tree.
They gather now in hope that the gardener may yet be able to breath life back into their tree.
They gather in hope that they may once again see real apples, real fruit.
Plastic apples do not satisfy.