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How We Grew
We grew from the earth. We began a few inches below the ground, a tiny, fluttering heartbeat embedded safely in an organic blanket. We stemmed a torso, limbs, and finally a head. We peeked our head above the dirt and saw the sunlight. It beamed down on us and beckoned us to come see what else lay above the soil. So, we pulled ourselves out, climbing and scratching until we stood tall and covered in dirt.
The world was warm and blue and greeted us with the gaiety of a summer day. We looked up into the sky and saw the clouds and the birds that galloped valiantly across the ever-blue background. We reached our hands out to touch the beauty, but could not. We were born from the land and the roots of our feet remained planted there.
For many days, we did not move, dwelling too much on the sky we could not reach. We clawed at the earth to let us go free, but it was often too hard and rocky and our fingers tore open and became red with our blood.
Soon, the blue of the skies were bleached to gray. The sun and its warmth disappeared. The birds seized to fly or even sing. We cried out for their melodies to return and mourned for the perpetual creature that blanketed the world in blue. Our tears began to spill, and the sky began to fall. The songs of the winged were replaced by our screaming as we heard the sky dying.
The rain licked our skin and peeled away the patches of dirt that still remained from our birth. It traveled down our body and whispered the secrets of the sky as it hit the ground around us. But the screaming was too loud for us to hear or care much about the quiet murmurs that spoke in a language we did not understand.
The noise and the rain stopped, but the blue did not return to the sky. We reached up and called for it, but it was still. The corpse of the beautiful creature soon began to decay. It became darker and darker as we watched. Then, we were consumed by the infinite black.
We had suffered through the storm, and we were tired. We did not have the strength to fear the night. So, we curled up on the ground and let our birthmother fervently embrace us as our eyes closed to the dark of the world around us.
We awoke to the sound of the birds and a strange new muttering. When we rose to stand again, we saw that the sky had been reincarnated. But we did not dwell much on this, and instead awed at the magnificent green that had appeared around us. All around, leaves stretched to the sky as we had done, rustling as the wind strolled by.
We reached forward to touch the trees, and our roots became untangled from the ground. We marveled at our newfound freedom. We stretched out legs and watched as our muscles twitched and surged with each motion. And then we ran.
We twisted in and out of the world, and we divided and began to spread out beyond our birthplace. We learned and we discovered as our curiosity drove us farther and farther into the forest. Sometimes, the rain would return. The night too, came just as often as the day, and whenever we opened our eyes to the sunrise we had new wonders to admire.
We noticed streams began to appear after the rains. Soon, they became rivers, and then lakes, and then the ocean became a boundary that separated us from other parts of the earth. From the ocean we often observed small, ghastly-looking creatures crawling out, as we had crawled out of the earth. We would watch them struggle. Some died. The ones that made it far enough inland began to change. Their bodies became like the forest around us. They stood beside us as allies, and soon we noticed that we were changing as well.
We had once all looked the same, but now the bodies we inhabited were becoming distinct. We grew tongues first, and soon found that none of us made the same sounds. Some were the thunder of the storms or the peaceful breeze through the forest. We grew hair that was the different colors of the earth. Some had the red of the deserts, or the darker, fertile soil brown, or the paleness of the sandy beaches. Our skin darkened and lightened as well. Our eyes reflected what we cherished and yearned to always see; the green of the forest, the blue of the sky, the brown of the land, the yellow of the sun. We grew genitals, and became different genders. The women became lean and curved, and the men became strong and sturdy. We admired the beauty we had.
As the world went on to create new things, we began to realize we could modify those and create our own marvels. Language came first, and then tools. We invented new technology and took the world as our own. From the ground up, as we had grown, we create skyscrapers. We created wings in which to fly with and soared across the endless sky. We created art inspired by our world.
We were powerful, and soon we became evil. We slaughtered the creatures around us to please ourselves. We slaughtered each other to hoard the world’s beauty for ourselves. We perfected murder with sharp tools and fast bullets. We took the wings we had made ourselves and dropped bombs upon many of our siblings at once. We created drugs to try to keep ourselves alive, but became addicts. We were ruthless.
We spoiled the earth and ruined everything we touched. The sky became yellow-green because we no longer cared for how our legs carried us across miles of land. We ripped open our mother and tore out her organs to create gadgets for ourselves. We poisoned the water with chemicals and garbage. Our roads and buildings became too common and we leveled the forest we had grown up in. The animals we had stood with in the beginning started to disappear as we destroyed them and their homes.
One day, the world had become too rotted and the corpse of the earth that we had been picking apart was no more. All that was left was what we had created, and what we had created was death and suffering. Those who were left alive were tired. We curled up next to our dead mother and closed our eyes.
Most never woke, even as the sun appeared brazenly colorful over the horizon. As we stood and stretched, we saw there were only a few of us left. We looked sadly at the gift around us that we had destroyed, knowing soon we would be gone as well. We walked with each other, our feet curling into the broken soil.
As we walked, we mused. We saw what we had done, and we were sorry for it. We apologized to each other for not stopping it sooner. We had killed one another and suffocated the beauty of life. There was no food left and no clean water to drink. We became tired, and eventually we stopped walking.
We sat, and idly dug into the soil. It was then that we found something that had never fully grown. We shifted the dirt away from our treasure and lifted it up. It was very heavy and it took all of us to pull it out. When it was finally out of the ground, we sat back, panting and sweating, but smiling.
We had found love. We took pieces of it with our hands and began to mold the seeds and the hearts to regrow the earth.