Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Spring (as in the season) (11/28/05)
TITLE: The Littlest Seed
By Melanie Kerr
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The seeds inside the packet didn't know that butterflies existed. They had been in the packet for almost as long as they could remember. Bumping up against each other in the darkness, they knew that they were all different sizes and shapes. Some of them were smooth and round, others felt prickly and sticky. Inside of each seed was the secret knowledge hidden deep in their kernels that the best was yet to come, that each of them had a destiny and a purpose.
"What's it like outside the packet?" asked the littlest seed.
The seeds had spent a lot of time thinking about life outside the packet. It was something wonderful they were sure, but they didn't really know.
* * * * * *
It was just an ordinary garden with a manicured square of emerald green grass that had been carefully mowed and a border of rich brown soil that had been meticulously weeded and raked over ready for the seeds.
Suddenly sunlight bled into the seed packet as the top was ripped away. The packet was turned upside down and the seeds tumbled out. Falling through the air, bathed in sunlight was an exhilarating experience for all of them. The littlest seed whooped to itself as it fell.
Landing softly in the soil, the littlest seed realised that it was alone. Brown clods of earth surrounded it on every side. It was cold and damp, and the moist smell of newly turned soil filled the air.
"If this is life outside the packet, I am not sure that I like it," thought the littlest seed.
* * * * * *
It was just an ordinary blackbird, with rippling shiny feathers and a cruel yellow beak. A soon as the gardener turned his back, it fluttered down from a branch of the tree. It danced in untidy steps across the lawn.
Darkness covered the littlest seed as the bird blocked out the sunlight. The yellow beak was poised to stab.
Quick as lightning, there was a flurry of ginger fur, a snarling hiss and a screeching wail. A single feather floated on the air and landed on top of the littlest seed. The cat had not been quick enough to catch the blackbird which hopped angrily on the tree branch, screaming insults and preening its feathers.
"Life outside the packet is full of dangers!" thought the littlest seed.
Safe under the feather, it soon fell asleep. As the worms twisted and the beetles scurried around in the soil, the littlest seed was drawn deeper and deeper into the ground. Above its bed, the wind tore around the garden, snatching the leaves off the tree. The blackbird flew south to a warmer climate. Cold clouds gathered spilling soft flakes that clothed the neatly manicured lawn in a winter white blanket. The littlest seed slept on.
* * * * * * *
It was just an ordinary spring day. With winter over, tiny buds punctuated the branches of the tree like full stops and commas. Warm sunshine pulsed through the blue sky, caressing the soil. The blackbird returned pecking strands of grass to build a nest.
The littlest seed never woke up. There was a moment perhaps as it dreamed that something inside broke out of its tiny shell. Hidden treasure spilled out as a tiny little shoot nosed its way to sunlight. Blind it was, curling in the soil, driven by the secret knowledge hidden deep in its kernel, always heading upwards.
Tendrils of roots pushed themselves deeper and deeper into the soil, grasping moisture and gleaning minerals and nutrients from all around.
A green shoot, like a tiny sword, pushed its determined way through to soil, erupting into the open air. It sparkled with the kiss of dew and stabbed at the blue sky.
* * * * * * *
It was just an ordinary butterfly. White gossamer wings delicately beating the air as it gently landed on the big red flower that had once been the littlest seed.
It was just as the packet has promised.
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