When Alex was selected, he didn’t know what to think. The ceremony of gifts is such a big deal, yet he was given something he didn’t know about. Almost everyone he knew that has gotten a gift has been something common. For example, Katy got to be a teacher. Alicia was selected to be a caretaker. But when Alex was selected to be the Sower, he didn’t know what to think. He has never heard of such a thing.
On the day of the ceremony, he was expecting to be assigned something like chef, or perhaps a teacher. But no, when he was called up to the stage, he was selected to be something no one even knows about.
How the ceremony works is that every year, on the same day, people from ages 14-20 can be called up to get their assignment, which is what they do for the rest of their life, until they can retire. The age at which people retire varies, because when you retire depends on your job and how much time off you take in your life. The leaders make sure to spend time finding you the perfect assignment. It could take them until you’re 20, or your could get it at 14. It all depends.
Alex has heard many of his friends been called up since they all turned 14. He is now 18, and just got his assignment. Traditionally, when you get your assignment, you move out of your childhood home and into the area of the town where people have similar assignments to you. When Alex got his assignment, he moved out of his old house, and to a small corner of the town, where he doesn’t know anybody. His house is a nice gray-ish blue color with two stories.
In Alex’s old area of town, he knew everybody, but now he knows nobody.
Two mornings after the Ceremony of Gifts, he goes to start his first day at work. In the mailbox at the end of his driveway, there is a letter with the instructions of what he is to do. The letter tells him to walk down the road to the Sower’s house. It gives him the address.
When Alex walks down the street and knocks on the door, it takes a while for the Sower- whoever they are- to come to the door.
“Who is this?” A voice asks. The voice sounds feminine, but has the tone of an old person.
“The new Sower,” Alex replies, “I was told to come here for work.”
“Oh, of course, of course. Come right in, dear.” The door creaks open, and Alex is met with a woman in a pink shirt, jeans, and an apron. She has many wrinkles around her eyes and mouth. Her hair must have once been a vibrant auburn, but now it is muted and streaked with grey.
He walks inside her house, and the various scents of baked goods, many candles, and spices welcomes Alex in.
The room that connects to the front door is a living room. There are two comfy couches facing a fireplace and a large television. In the middle of them is a small coffee table with a lamp. On the other side of the room is a bookshelf. It is filled with books- unsurprisingly and other trinkets.There is a colorful rug on the floor and there are many paintings and quotes on the walls.
Through the entrance to the kitchen, Alex sees a small cooking setup and many racks of various spices. There are pots and pans hanging from hooks on the walls. There are a set of stairs leading up, presumably to a bedroom.
“Come, child,” The woman says, gesturing to one of the couches, “Come and sit down.” Alex does as she says, and sinks into the soft fabric and cushioning.
“I know you from somewhere,” He announces.
“Yes, I’m sure you do,” The woman says, “But from where?”
“I’ve seen you at the Ceremony before,” Alex decides.
“I’m sure most people have, as most people look up on stage for most of the time,” the woman says, letting a mischievous smile cross her lips.
“So you’re once of the Leader’s Council Members?” He asks, wondering if he should have been more formal all this time.
“Yes, and so is everyone else on this road,” The Sower says.
“I’m not,” The boy blurts.
“After your training, you will be,” The Sower replies calmly.
Alex stares at her for a while, just wondering what this will mean for him, then finally accepts it. “Okay. Now what do we need to do? What is the Sower’s job?”
“Calm down. Today is the day for questions. Tomorrow is the day for training.” With that, the Sower stands up and walks Alex to the door.
That night, Alex finishes unpacking all his belongings. He lays in his bed wondering what being ‘The Sower’ entails. Would he be simply sowing seeds? Would he just be a farmer? If so, why would that mean he is a part of the council. Alone with these thoughts, they whisper ideas about what could be, what should be. The whispers become a sort of white noise, calming Alex until he falls into a deep sleep.
Alex’s alarm wakes him up in the morning. As soon as he is dressed and has had a simple and short breakfast, he walks to the Sower’s house once more.
“Come inside,” the Sower says once Alex opens the door.
They sit on the couches, much like last time, but today there is a different tone in the room. More serious.
“Today, child, I will show what we Sowers do,” she says.
“Okay,” He replies, but then decided to ask one more question that’s been bothering him, “If you don’t mind my asking, what’s your name? I don’t want to have to call you The Sower every time we meet.”
“Of course, child. My name is Circe,” She the name rolls off her tongue in such a beautiful way. Her voice takes on an accent I’ve never heard before.
He whispers to himself that name a few times. Just trying to replicate the cadence and tone of the name. If all today will be is work, this name will be a bright spot.
“Good to know. Now how do I do this Sowing stuff?” He asks.
“We won’t do it, yet. Today I will explain. Maybe if you’re good you will be able to see it,” Circe replies.
Alex quickly nods his head and follows the woman to a room to the left of the living room. The door creaks open, and Circe ushers Alex into a brightly lit room.
Alex can see that there is no artificial lighting. Instead the light streaming in is from a huge window leading out into a green space, of which there was no sign of from the outside of the house.
Circe walks into the green space, and breathes deeply. Alex follows her, and inhales the air. Its more fresh and clean then anything he’s experienced before. “What is this place?”
“This is the field, child. This is where I do my work.”
“And where I will do my work one day,” Alex adds.
“That’s right,” Circe says, “No more talking now. We will walk.”
They walk in silence. Soon a grove of trees comes into view. All Alex can do is look in wonder at the trees. As they grow closer to the grove, the trees seem to stretch up to the sky, touching the clouds. Circe leads Alex on a trail through the grove, of which now the trees tops are not visible.
“Where are we?” Alex’s head might as well be hooked to one of the branches above, because he can’t keep from looking up.
As soon as the duo enter the grove, it opens up to a clearing. In it, there is a small gardening set up. There is a hose that seems to be hooked up to seemingly nothing, along with shovels, rakes, and other things.
“This is where I do my work,” The woman repeats.
She goes to the garden, almost in a trance, and begins to plant seeds. The seeds vary in color, shape and size, but not like normal seeds do. These seeds are all in different shades of human skin. Some are bigger than others, as normal, but some are barely visible. Some have markings on their shell. Some have dots all over them.
“What are these? What are you doing?” Alex exclaims. He has a few guesses, but all of them are completely absurd.
“Let me explain,” Circe says, not once looking up from her work. While explaining, she put a few of them into the dirt and waters them. “Our title is technically ‘Sower of the Future’. This is because what we do is we make the future. All that you have learned in school about how life is given is true, but they’ve left out a few parts. They’ve left out what we do. We create the life.”
“So what you’re saying is that at some point, I was one of those seeds?” Alex looks at her in curiosity mixed with disgust.
“Yes, child. I can remember the day I planted you.”
“Yes, but remember, this is a magical thing we do. You must take pride. Soon I will be gone and if you don’t do your work, us as a species will die out.”
“I don’t think I can fully believe you,” Alex says.
“That’s fine child, you don’t have to. Just think of it as simple gardening then.”
“How can I if what you’re saying is true?”
“I don’t know. The journey to knowing is different for all the Sowers.”
“Very helpful. Thanks.”
“Oh, no need to thank me. I’m just doing my job.” Alex rolls his eyes at this. “As much as you might think this is stupid… just… keep it to yourself at least.” He rolls his eyes again.
For the rest of the day Alex reluctantly learns how to do the Sower’s work. For the next week, he starts to do the work himself.
Not more then a week after Alex’s training is completed, Circe dies in her sleep. Alex becomes a member of the Council, as Circe told him he would. Many years later, in his old age, the council decides to choose a new Sower at the Ceremony. Two days after the Ceremony of gifts, there is a knock on Alex’s door. He takes a deep breath, and opens his door.