Deep within the earth, I take to the moist dark. In the secret places, I begin to unravel, to change. The shell is but a husk of my being; I am a fountain of life waiting to spring forth from near nothingness. All I know of the light is that it is warmth. I have no ears to hear. I have no eyes to see. I have no hands to feel. All I am is being.
Like magic, I push through the earth and into the air, and then suddenly sprout wings. You may call them leaves, but to me it feels like I am soaring through the air as I grow and grow. In the secret places underground, my roots run deep, soaking up the life force that helps me reach for the canopy above.
You may call mine a lonely life. You may say that, since you do not understand my language, that there is no life in my veins. You may claim that I am an island, desolate, without feelings, vacant. But I know that I swell and stretch in each moment that I am blessed enough to find existence. I know as I fill out and flower that there is beauty and purpose in my life. There is glory in the way my leaves unfold in the morning, in my quivering stem, in my hearty belly of soil.
The season passes. My seed scatters. My flowers wither. My leaves yellow and fall. I start to shrivel. I have no remorse about my passing. I once was hard and hollow; I have been bright and full; now I am soft. I lay down, at long last, having reached as far as my tendrils would take me.
You of the long life and wild breath, you think my life is simple. You think my ways are beneath you. You think a life like mine is no life at all. I say to you that this is the life I was blessed with, and in it I rejoice.
You scorn me for not being able to satisfy you, as I am mute, deaf and dumb; however, I have grown my own roots, and life is deeper than you can comprehend.
What if you, oh man, were deprived of your sight; would you stop to have insight? What if you were stripped of your hearing and powers of speech? As a man who smells and eats and walks about, would you be any less of a man? Let us strip you of these senses, as well. Let us fill your mouth with cotton, and numb your every nerve. If you were to feel no space, no scent, no taste, would you be any less human? Is it what you perceive that makes you who you are, or is it something deeper that reaches into the dark, moist soil in which you are planted and catapults you on an arc of wild metamorphosis?
What are you, if not a seed waiting to sprout wings?
Photo of the maple seed on pavement, courtesy of Stacy Wagoner.