by Dulcinea Norton-Smith
Seed dropped down from the sky. The blackbird that had carried him for miles gave his wings an almighty flap, and Seed wiggled free of the oily black feathers and jumped. As he tumbled down, a soft, nutty, autumn breeze carried him, making him dance and float like a butterfly. He saw the rivers and hills below, glinting in jeweled sapphire blue and emerald green. He saw horses galloping with their manes flapping behind them like scarves. He saw birds soaring high above him then swooping down, lifting him higher on the breeze of their wings, and he saw trees as large as the one he had fallen from and wished on the breeze that one day he would be as tall.
See spotted a field that looked particularly serene. The wind held its breath and whispered goodbye. Seed fluttered down and landed in cushiony swathes of dense, green, grass, then took a deep breath. The grass cuddled him with a fresh, sweet scent then kissed him goodbye as he wriggled down into the soil. The warm soil hugged him with an earthy, chocolate scent. It was dark, cozy, and safe. Seed went to sleep.
He slept for a long time. When he woke up, he had grown a little taller and a little thinner. Where he had once been small and round and brown, he was now thin and fragile and lime-green tinged white. Seed peeped out of the soil. The world seemed different. No more nutty aromas and no more warm, amber tinged sky. Spring was here. He took a sniff of the crisp, moist air and stretched his face to the cool, lemon-yellow sun. Minuscule drops of rain, still chilled from the winter months, sprinkled down like droplets of melted ice. Seed smiled and faced the new day with hope.
Seed stretched a little higher each day. He felt stronger. He looked greener. Soon it was Summer. The air grew sweeter and warmer, and evenings brought particles of dust and pollen that danced in the air, swirling and whirling in warm, pastel whirlwinds as they performed their dusty summer ballet just for Seed. Animals came and went but none nibbled on Seed. He watched the insects as they crawled through the grass, living their tiny, little lives. To them the grass was as tall and thick as a forest, but to Seed it was now far below him. Seed reached for the sun.
Autumn came again. A year had passed since Seed had found his home. The familiar nutty scent of his youth was back. He stood in his pool of amber light protected by four great oak trees around him.
“What are your names?” called out Seed to the big grandfather trees.
“We are called Seed,” the trees said.
They did not look like seeds. Their voices were old, deep, and creaky. Seed thought perhaps they should have been called ‘Tree,’ but what Seed did not understand is that we all keep the name that we are born with. Even if the grandfather trees had changed their names to Tree, they would still have been Seeds at heart.
The warm air calmly and gently became colder day by day, and the leaves on the oak trees curled up, keeping themselves warm. They melted from greens to browns and burnt in golden syrup oranges and berry reds. Seed smiled as he saw other seeds begin their journeys. He danced as leaves fluttered down around him like confetti. The leaves snuggled up around him, keeping his feet warm as Jack Frost brought the first tingling of cold to the field.
Winter crept in stealthily and froze the ground. Seed could not move much anymore. The hard soil kept his roots still, and his waist had thickened. He was no longer a seedling. He was becoming a tree, but in the long, long life of trees, Seed was still a baby. He looked around the field in wonder. The trees around him were bare now. Their strong trunks held up thick branches, and spindly twigs reached up to the grey sky. The winter sun was blinding, like a disc of ice overseeing the white world. Seed could not think of any words to describe the glittery wonders around him.
Each snowflake fell, giggling in tinkling, baby voices as they passed. Seed noticed they were all different and made up of millions of small ice crystals. The snowflakes grouped together and blanketed the ground around Seed. His roots began to feel warmer, and they could wriggle again. He sighed happily and spent the rest of winter talking to the snowflakes about their journey as drops of rain from the warm seas to the cold clouds where they had turned into tiny webs of ice. At the end of winter, the snowflakes sang a goodbye song to Seed, then melted and fed his roots so he could grow taller.
Years passed, and Seed grew bigger and stronger. One day a girl came to the field with her grandparents. She was young and wore pink and white candy striped dungarees. She hugged Seed, just about fitting her arms around his trunk.
“Look at this tree, Grandma,” she said. “He is small, just like me.” Seed was confused. He was a seed, not a tree.
Autumn came again, and Seed realized the leaves from the grandfather trees fell past him and kept on falling. Winter came, and the snowflakes giggled as they passed his head, but by the time they reached the ground, he could not hear their stories. He could only just hear their tinkling laughs being carried up on the icy breeze. Some snowflakes stuck to his branches, but they spoke so fast and all at once in their baby voices. Seed struggled to understand what they were saying. When the winter sun came out, the snowflakes got bored and melted down to their friends at Seed’s roots.
Summer finally returned, and Seed felt he was closer to the sun. It cascaded shimmering, flaming specks of orange and gold on Seed’s face. His roots seemed a long way away. The little girl returned. She wore shorts and a shirt now, gangly legs seeming too long for dungarees. Her grandparents had brought an old branch and some rope with them. As they fastened the rope to Seed and created a swing for the girl, he wondered what had happened to make the branch fall off its tree. The girl swung back and forth, screaming with joy.
Many years passed, and each year the girl returned. She built a tree house, tied ribbons around Seed’s branches and read books in the shade of his leaves. He grew new leaves and shed them each year. The girl returned with a baby. She looked like a woman now. Seed smiled as the baby tried to grab Seed’s falling leaves.
One day Seed felt a tingling tickle in his branches. He looked down and saw a tiny brown tear-shaped sort of thing.
“Hello,” said Seed.
“Hello, Father Tree,” said the teardrop shaped thing.
“Who are you?” asked Seed.
“I’m Seed,” the teardrop squeaked back. “Goodbye, Father Tree,” called the little seed as a breeze whipped through Seed’s branches and carried the teardrop away.
Seed stretched his limbs and looked at the grandfather trees around him, no longer taller than him, just a little thicker around the waist. Seed smiled at the sun. I will never be a grown up tree, he thought, I will always be just me… Seed.
1. Who surrounded Seed?
2. What did the grandfather trees say their names were?
3. Why was Seed confused about their names?
4. What did the girl’s grandparents do with the rope?
5. What did Seed notice about the trees around him at the end of the story?