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THE METAMORPHOSIS

            A balmy summer day in the mountains.  The meadow was green and moist.  Dark brooding trees bordered the chartreuse.  A group of riotous children frolicked in the sun.  Their boisterous shouts echoed among the trees.  Their clothing, stripes and bright solids, splashed the scene like a painter’s pallet gone wild.  The young ones had been there all day.  The sun, beginning to sink, marked the end of a fun-filled afternoon.

            “Good!” thought the seed.  “Glad they’re going!”  He had narrowly missed being squashed by a Kedd’s tennis shoe and was most annoyed.  Hiding in the earth, existing there alone, was not easy.  The seed had been planted a week ago and was proud of his new-grown roots.  Soon he would spring from the soil, a plant of some kind though he knew not what.  He trembled as he heard the cars and jeeps rumble away.  With his shiver, he felt himself sprout.  “Fantastic!”  I am actually growing!” he cried.  The seed was ecstatic.  He held his breath and pushed hard.  As he pushed upward, he felt his tangled hairy roots unwind and grip.  Each fibrous root took hold of the sandy earth and clutched the grains of sand cemented under that clutch.

            The seed’s top-knot head roared with the effort.  He labored relentlessly.  Between spasms of growth, he panted and groaned.  He rejoiced that the soil on the surface was sandy-soft and mobile.  His efforts became less strenuous.  As he worked, he felt himself growing long and supple.  Looking down at his roots, he saw his body was slender and green; no longer fist-hard and walnut brown.

            As his physical hardness left him, so his emotions began to soften.  While lying in the dank dirt, he often felt bitter and sad.  He longed to know what he was and what shape he would take.  He desperately wished to know of his parentage.  An ugly little seed, alone in the dark, made him in his morose moments yearn for the end.  Now he was moving.  He continued growing in a way simultaneously pleasing and exciting.

            “Oof!” said the seed and “Swish!” went the earth, as the seed’s head coursed through the ground to the light and the gently caressing wind.  The seed had been informed by a nearby Ponderosa pine root of what the upper world was like.  He heard the terms, “blue sky” and “sunshine”, but the words were foreign to him.  All he knew was “brown” and “black”.  Even now he saw no “blue”.   The sky was gold, rose, and tender pink.  The glow dazzled the blinking eyes of the seed.

            “Whish-swish,” went the wind and “Oh no!” cried the seed as he felt his funny, cone-shaped top blow off.  It tumbled, somer­saulted away and was hidden in the quiet grass.  “What’ll I do now?” mourned the seed.  All at once he spontaneously touched his head with newly formed palm-like leaves.  His head, green, soft, and bumpy, felt curiously velvety to the touch.  He let his leaves drop in wonderment.

            “I must be a flower,” he thought.  “A flower!” he exclaimed.  Never in his happiest moments had he hoped for the beauty of a flower.  Cynicism and loneliness left him.  He felt the pride and strength of a young adult.  The plant had undergone his trials and had overcome them.  Ignorance and solitude, he knew.  Through struggle and ascension, he conquered the timeless sands.  Now he stood proudly amid earth, grass, and trees.

            “Welcome” whispered the somber trees.  “Congratulations!” sang the grass.  Even the crickets played a triumphant ditty with their violin legs.  The flower looked up.  The fiery sky now quenched by the shimmering night.  “What are those?” pondered the plant as he gazed upward.  A thousand crystalline candles seemed to sparkle down on him.  He quizzed a meandering caterpillar what it was he saw.  “Why they are stars, my dear innocent!” giggled the animal as he squiggled on.  “Stars” sighed the flower.  Never before had he seen anything so lovely.  His desire to move closer to the brilliant, benevolent sky made him grow all the more.  His stalk toughened and more leaves sprouted and slowly unfurled.  “He’s a veritable flag-pole!” opined a nearby Pinion pine as he watched the ongoing metamorphosis.

            “What’s happening?” anguished the flower.  “My pretties are leaving!  They are dying!”  The silky black was languidly giving way to cobalt blue.  The surrounding hills again were tinged with glowing gold.  With a new burst of energy, the flower pushed upward.  He felt his head throb and expand.  The flower futilely clung to the beauteous night he had admired for so many hours.  His leaves stretched to the point of aching tension. 

            As the sun, that magnificent ball of fire rolled into view, the flower’s head split, and a dazzling whiteness appeared.  A cascade of flowing white spilled forth and glistened above the dew-sheeted green.  He had arrived.  Both flower and morning were born.

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