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The Seed

by dharker 

Posted: 01 September 2010
Word Count: 444

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The seed wakes. Moisture seeps through every pore and she swells in delight at the life giving gift. Slowly she stretches her legs down through the warm, rich earth; sipping at the offered moisture and nutrition. Instinctively knowing where she needs to be, her neck unfolds upwards and grows away from the pull of the Earth. She grows and feeds, pushing ever upward and outward. Her roots hit bedrock and feel their way outwards, searching for weaknesses or cracks into which they can continue their quest for water and nutients. Weakening as her stored food supply diminishes, she pushes ever more desperately.

Finally, something cracks above her head, she pushes harder and she experiences something she has never felt before in all her short life – freedom. She twists and extends, stretching her foetal seed leaves. Inflated and green, they start to fill her veins with sugars, the life blood her seed case could not provide. The two dicotyledinous seed leaves, having done their work, wither and fall. Basking in warmth and the dappled light of the forest floor, the seed feels her finest new leaves form and grow.

Time passes and her stem toughens and browns. Her trunk sends moisture racing upwards to her canopy of leaves. The days lengthen then shorten, a cycle of warmth and cold, growth and consolidation. Her leaves form, green and grow. Having provided sustainance in the good days the gathered waste in each leaf now turns them scarlet. Finally they wither and fall to the forest floor. The years pass by in a blur for the seed.

Finally she has grown to her mightiest – her roots no longer able to extend through the rocky bowl that feeds and systains her. How strong she feels… how powerful! Her very heart and soul shouts to the canopy ”Bring it on world!”

The children run through the forest, screaming their delight to be free of school for the summer. Chloe, a budding botanist, falls to her knees and coos and bills at the something she has just discovered. Piqued, her friend runs over to see what it is that has interrupted their games.

“Look Becky! Its a baby tree! How beautiful is that! See her tiny leaves? That’s because of a thing called Bonsai… “

”Lovely… now can we get on and play?”

Chloe stands up, smiles, and firmly plants a hand on Becky and runs off into the trees.

“You’re it! You’re it!” She screams…

Becky, surprised, watched her friend rush off. About to dash off after Chloe, a thought reached into her mind and she paused. Standing over the miniature tree, her boot raised…..

“Bonsai this, tree!”

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Comments by other Members

apcharman at 10:49 on 01 September 2010  Report this post
Hi David,

This made me chuckle; I liked the (slightly cruel) joke of the mighty tree feeling its power only to discover it is miniature. And I have to admire any story that can weave the word dicotyledinous into its fabric!

It is written with a very clean and uncluttered style, which is easy to read, but I'd draw attention to the anthropomorphisms; not so much because I think they are right or wrong, just to question whether you really intend to make the seed so human. In the first line the seed has pores ('every pore', she also stretches her legs and extends her neck and has blood. Did you try writing this with more plant-like attributes?

Either way, a pleasing read.



Just for the record, the Writewords text editor inserted that ridiculous face into the text above; not me.

I was going to add a p.s. that the tense changes momentarily towards the end--lapsing from present tense to past tense.

Andy :-)

bjlangley at 21:37 on 01 September 2010  Report this post
Hi David, touching on Andy's comment above, I wasn't comfortable with the use of so many human images in the growth of the tree - the writing is solid, but I feel the image would be more consistent with plant vocabulary.

I enjoyed the reveal that it was just a bonsai, but think this could work as a much shorter piece, around 250 words - if you could combine the first 3 paragraphs into a shorter one, I feel it would be a very effective flash - though I'd probably want to leave at at the point that it was revelaed to be a bonsai.

All the best,


dharker at 05:32 on 02 September 2010  Report this post
Thanks Ben and Andy! This is exactly the kind of constructive comment I was hoping for! Many thanks! I agree with the comment about the anthromorphism of the seed and will also take a look at reducing the word count. Many, many thanks guys!

Desormais at 11:16 on 02 September 2010  Report this post
I liked this piece very much, particularly the ending which seemed to be in sharp contrast to the gently flowing earlier part. Great writing.

the years pass by in a blur for the seed.

This sentence seemed at odds with the rest of the piece. I'd try to do something different with that.


Becca at 14:52 on 02 September 2010  Report this post
Hi Dave,
very small word count, so this flash fiction, not short story. I took it that the tree, after all its efforts to grow naturally was to become a bonsai in the hands of a [horrid?] little girl. But there's an awful big lead in just to get to that one point, the end line, so I guess that makes it a twist in the tail flash fiction! I too, didn't warm to the anthropomorphism. I think I'd have been more empathic with the seed if it hadn't been made human, oddly. Then I'd have cared more about its fate.
Any longer stories on the go that keep the reader engaged over a longer time period?

dharker at 19:13 on 02 September 2010  Report this post
Many thanks Sandra and Becca for your comments. I'll take out the anthropomorphism. The bonsai idea was entirely the result of the natural process of growing in a rocky bowl with nowhere to grow...

I have a story that I'll post tomorrow that I wrote a short while ago... but will then take some inspiration from the things I read here to work on a longer piece Becca.


Becca at 07:13 on 03 September 2010  Report this post
Oh dear! Well I got that wrong.

dharker at 10:55 on 03 September 2010  Report this post
Just a quick Newbie question ... do people normally upload their reworks for folks to comment on? Or just rework and save?

Becca at 11:47 on 03 September 2010  Report this post
Yes, you can upload a revision but if the re-workings are very slight, it's difficult for the reader to remember detail from the first version, and can only comment on what's before them again.

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