“Gramma tell me a story.” Begged Guinna as she fingered the large crystal bowl on the table. The power had gone out and now they sat in the warm glow of a single candle as outside a snowstorm blew snow and ice as though it were confetti. The sky dark grey speckled with tiny white dots as the wind raced them back and from outside the window.
“What kind of story?” her grandmother asked, she put down her knitting needles and adjusted her glasses. Took a sip off tea and gazed at her small, clearly bored, granddaughter.
“I dunno, something special? Not a people story, maybe an animal? or a plant?”
“Hmmm, let me think.” Gramma scratched her ear, in the way she did when she was about to come up with something Guinna had never heard before.
“Have you heard the story of the mushroom Minstrel?” and Guinna nodded sticking her tongue out. A clear sign of disapproval.
“Mushy is too much like a person. Besides, I’ve heard that story a hundred times, Gramma.”
“Ok, ok. “Her grandmother laughed,” You used to love that story but I suppose you have outgrown our mushroom musician, pity he did so love to play for you. Ok a new kind of story then. What do you know about maple seeds?”
Guinna shook her head, folded her arms on the table as a gesture of attention. Gramma took a sip of her tea and began.
“On a beautiful day in September, just as the maple trees were getting ready to begin winter preparation, a single leafy seed became detached from its branch. Like a hair fallen from one’s head, it gently rode the passing breeze out into the great big world beyond.
It did not land on solid ground when it did finally manage to make it to earth. Instead, the little seed found itself floating on gently flowing water, spending some time enjoying the ride down the long river as it swept down the line further and further from its home, its origins, its tree.
“But Gramma! Wasn’t the little seed lonely? So far away from home? All alone?” Concern was clear in Guinna’s eyes, and her grandmother was quick to reassure her.
“Nope, the little seed was excited, going out to make its way in the big world, but it also had an important job to do.now let me get back to the story.
Contrary to popular belief, seeds can experience things. Not through eyes and ears the way you and I experience the world, but they can feel, and take in information, and eventually send that information back. They are sent out like little scouts to send messages and important information back to keep the tree and forest healthy. Seeds love adventure. In fact, they are born for it. The Further the seed pod goes away from the origin the more information it can gather and send back to kind. All information is welcome in the colony for they deal strictly in facts.
Wide eyed Guinna nodded and repeated with the gravity only small children can manage said.
“Strictly in facts!” Her grandmother chuckled.
“But Gramma,” asked Guinna suddenly, looking confused. “How can a seed send back its information if its so far away? How to they talk?
“That’s a good question little one. Tree’s talk through chemical signals. Like smell for example. Flowers can smell pretty, that is a signal they send out to attract insects and small birds. Those in turn pollinate the flowers. When the job is done, they stop making the smell. Have you ever noticed that the flower of a tree doesn’t quite smell like the fruit?”
“So, they don’t talk like we do with words and stuff.”
“Well, no, not in our words we use but if they did they would probably have their own names for such things as animals, minerals, mushrooms, and so on. People could be called : “small, cutty, burney, but sometimes nice things.” While birds might be “seed dispersers,”
Insects of different sorts depending on their functions can be referred to as “tiny ouchies, or the end of the line.” And depending on how dirty the rivers, lakes and ponds are referred to as “good drink and “bad drink.”
Trees are very descriptive, able to communicate among themselves what kind of year to have, with their little scouts, they take in as much information as they can and share it with each other through roots deep under ground.
“So, what happened to the little seed Gramma?”
“Well, as I was saying, this particular seed, set adrift from its home grove, which had begun its journey on the wind was now following the surface current of a river few people had ever encountered. It began slow and lazy as it flowed along the landscape, gracefully pulling along as gravity coaxed it forward.”
“Gramma? That is silly,” said Guinna, making a face.” How can seeds know about Gravity?”
“Trees know all about gravity, they know that it is a force created by the core tree, deep in the earth that holds all the living things on this planet together. The river, also in its way organic, began to flow faster, and suddenly the little seed, found itself in the dark. Down the long stone cavern, the water racing at breakneck speeds and the little seed did its best to stay above the surface, buffeted left and right by the currents.”
“Oh no!” squeaked Guinna and her grand mother put a reassuring arm around her shoulders.
“Not to worry my little love, little seeds gather information, but they do not feel pain, they do not drown, the seed is on an adventure and what do we always say about adventure?”
“It may not be comfortable but at least its interesting.” They said together in one voice.
“that’s right little one, that’s exactly right.” The smiled at one another before Guinna asked Gramma to continue.
“Well, the little seed, floated on the surface as it raced in the dark towards a place the little seed had never been before. It was not scared, for seeds are brave and hardy creatures. Suddenly the water rushed through a small hole and the seed found itself in sunshine once more. the river water, calming, becoming steadier. The little seed relaxed, floating gently once again before a large shape blocked out the sun once more. Something large and winged and dark was swooping down towards the little seed and before the little seed could even react, it was plucked from the water by a hard black beak.
“Oh no!” said Guinna again, softer this time, eyes wide with anticipation.
“Oh yes” said gramma with a big smile. “You see the bird did not want to eat the seed, it merely plucked it from the water, then left it on the riverbank, safe now and ready to send back its reports. The little seed, began to send out little shoots, down into the ground, searching for a good drink. When it found that, the seed began to grow more roots and one shoot up back towards the blue sky, tiny leaves searching for sunlight and air so that the little seed could grow into a beautiful new tree. Its roots when they reached far enough touched the root of the earth tree and the little seed began to send its story to its mother and all the other trees connected. It told of the river, the kind bird. It told of the warm soil and good water to drink. It knew that more of its kind would eventually find their way here and that one day the baby tree would make baby trees of its own. A new grove in a beautiful new place won through adventure.”
“Wow Gramma, seeds are so cool.” Guinna said dreamily, as Gramma guided her to bed. Warm and cozy in her little bed Guinna fell asleep as visions of baby seeds danced through her mind and promising adventure and growth.