The majestic aspen colony grew strong and proud on the shoulder of the mountain. The white bark seemed to shimmer in the early light as the sun crept its way up over the the distant peaks. The air was crisp and clear and the leaves of the colony languorously basked in the life giving rays.
The solitary pebble that came strolling between the boles, rudely bouncing off this or that tree was unusual, but none gave it much thought. The morning was too fine, the sky too clear. Life was too comfortable to worry about some rude stone beyond a sly curse thrown its way and soon forgotten.
When a frond's worth of stones, sized from the smallest pebble to one almost half the size of the aspens' trunks, came bounding in shortly after, there was some concern. Even the babbling of the nearby brook seemed tremulous.
Soon, there seemed to be a great roaring, as of a thousand bears roaring into a thousand waterfalls all at once. The air grew cloudy, and then it happened. A great wall of rushing dirt, stone, mud, snow, and beasts unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, crashed into the leading edge of the colony with the force of a mountain dropped from a cliff.
Leaves, limbs, and trunks were all torn asunder. The crashing destruction was terrible. Not a single aspen was left standing. The broken, splintered remains joined the pressing mass hurtling down the side of the mountain, only coming to rest, finally, in a valley far, far below.
It had been a month since the avalanche tore through the colony like an elk through a spider's web. It was another fine morning. Clear, crisp air with just a hint of spray from the nearby brook. The weather took no notice of the havoc that had been wreacked in this once idyllic scene. Tentatively, the first green shoot of new aspen swam up through the last bit of soil and found the sun.
Five miles away, in the valley, another shoot found light, and another colony of aspen was founded.