The little seed is still, black, alone. He lays flat against the earth; waiting.
Waiting for what? For the right time to wriggle and jiggle and clasp his tiny white toes into the rich, dark grains. But it has to be just right. Warm. Not hot. Moist. Not wet. Crumbly. Not caked.
Finally, the day comes. He can feel it. The sun’s gentle kiss penetrates the darkness.
He stretches; tendrils tap and poke until the shell splits a little. He grasps at the earth, testing again. He redoubles his effort and sends forth another shoot, and another, until his little black shell is just a remnant, jettisoned in his skyward trajectory.
The sun rises and falls, gentle showers pitter-patter against the darkness beckoning him towards the light. His toes dig deep and grip, anchoring the weight of the pale green stem as it flexes and pushes upward emerging into the soft morning light.
Caked earth flakes to the ground dislodged by seed leaves, like two green biceps they flex against the dew. He turns to face the sun, guzzling energy, feeling the sugar pulse through his veins and swell, urging his feet to grip firm. Secure the mooring, he has a lot of growing to do.
The sun is dull, harsh, bright, veiled. The clouds muted, low, high, absent. The rain is soft, driving, soaking, non-existent. But he is strong. He can do this. His biceps build triceps, quadriceps, hamstrings. He has only to set seed and his journey will begin. He will preen and pose, ensuring the sun catches all his best angles.
He forms a bud; strong and tight at his neck and unfurls slowly to reveal the first golden curls of sunshine. They straighten and stand rigid waiting till each petal is complete, ready to descend in unison. He has only to stretch, and flatten, revealing the shiny dark shells of his seed.
Available for the birds to pluck and spread, the mice to nibble, the possums to gobble, and the wind to lift and carry. Possibility swells through every cell.
He readies himself, feels into the tiny hairs that adorn his now thick stem. He pushes out a little, but the petals do not respond. They are tethered by a weight of invisible thread, gossamer-thin it holds them erect. Rest, he tells himself. Tomorrow, when the sun comes out, the delicate filament will dissolve and he will be free to stretch.
But tomorrow, the sun does not shine. Nor the next day, nor the next. The days shorten and the sun hides deep within the folds of a thick dull cloak.
Little birds peck at his golden hair, eager for his dark eyes to emerge. He does not answer. Soon, their calls grow faint and he can no longer hear them. The earth cools and his once rigid lime leaves fold downwards, curling against a yellowing stem. His head is heavy and he tumbles forward to the soft loam. An April sun bakes down upon him, drying his golden petals to spidery pallor until they lift and whisk away on a sudden gust. A handful of dark seed is embraced by the rich humus, cloaked in a robe of gold, magenta, maple and russet leaf.
Shrouded in Autumn’s decadence they wait, cradled by the Earth. The sun must shine, the rain must fall and time must pass. How much, how little and how long? That, they cannot know. It is just the way of things.