Through a Plant's Eyes This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 4, 2013
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Birth. It is the same for all species. We are all born fragile and helpless. We can’t fend for ourselves at birth. But we are born in different ways.

The birth of a plant is different from the birth of a human. I am born from a seed, but humans are born from a woman who will become their mother. I have no mother or father.

I was born at the same time as the human baby who now lives in the house closest to my bed. I pushed my way through the dirt while the baby was pushed from his mother’s womb. We are both fragile.

Spring. It is the season in which I was born and am now growing. I am small and green. None of my neighbors are big either. We are all struggling to grow.

It is late spring. There has been lots of rain. I have not been very thirsty. I am using the water from the sky to grow. I grow slowly. My roots are buried beneath the damp soil. They are getting bigger and stretching. Inside the house next to my bed, a baby cries. I do not cry, even though I am a baby too. I am a plant baby. I have no mouth to cry from.

The grass is getting greener. It is flat because of the snow that is now melted. I didn’t get to see the snow because I wasn’t born yet. I do not want to see the snow because snow means winter. I might die during the winter.

Summer. It is my favorite season. The sun is high in the sky and beating down on me. The rain has been staying away. I need rain because my soil is dry and I am thirsty. My neighbors are thirsty too. All our leaves and petals and stems droop. We need water.

The heat is scorching and stifling. My roots are dry as bones and I have not been growing. No flowers are hanging from my arms like they should be. We need rain. I wish the woman with the crying baby and kicking toddler would water us.

Weeds have now begun to take over my bed. They take up dirt from my neighbors and from me. They are annoying pests. I need water.

Summer is halfway over and temperatures are high. We have gotten little splashes of water, but not nearly enough to satisfy. The kicking toddler has walked over my neighbors and squashed them to the ground. They are too weak to rise up again. They don’t even try to grow anymore. Neither do I. I let my stem stay limp and small, and my leaves droop sadly. I am still flowerless.

Rain has finally come. The sky is dark and angry, and lightning cracks along the menacing clouds. Rain pours from the sky in heavy rivulets and into my soil. My thirsty roots suck it up so fast I’m surprised my neighbors have gotten anything. The storm lasts for two wonderful days.

We are all growing now after the storm. There’s a chill in the air and I know summer is coming to a close. There are now buds dotting my branches. My flowers will be growing soon. The woman with the crying baby and kicking toddler waters us with a watering can twice a day, until the deliciously icy water is pooling on top of our soil. We have not thirsted since the storm. The baby still cries and the toddler still kicks. I am growing.

When time has progressed further into summer, my flowers finally – finally! – come. The kicking toddler spots them first. She plucks every single one off of me with her fat fingers and sticks them behind her ears. She steps on several of my neighbors and breaks their stems. My flowers are too small to be decorations on the body. They are supposed to be decorations in the flower bed. I wish she wouldn’t wear my flowers.

The air is cooler now. Summer is almost over. After summer comes fall, and after fall comes winter, and during winter comes death because I am not strong enough to withstand the bitter cold and chilling winds and freezing snow piling atop my dirt.

Fall. The colored leaves are dropping on me. I have stopped growing and started shrinking. It is chilly every day. The kicking toddler wears a jacket and long pants to school. The crying baby is swaddled in a million blankets every time his mother brings him outside so that he can cry outside instead of inside.

The wind blows me sideways. It isn’t raining anymore. I don’t mind because I am not thirsty. Everything is dying. Including me.

The worst part about fall is the anticipation of the oncoming winter. Winter brings cold and cold brings death. I am tired of waiting for death.

Winter. Everything is bleak. The trees are bare and spindly. The sight of the defeated world around me is depressing.

It is cold. Too cold for a plant like me to survive. I am weak, so low to the ground that only a tiny, indecipherable portion of my stem pokes out from the dirt. I am much more stubborn than my neighbors, who are already buried under the soil.

I finally have to give up and sink back to where I came from because I can no longer bear the frozen tundra that is the world I know. As I slowly freeze, succumbing to the winter, I can hear the crying baby’s wails through the dirt. I find comfort in this as I shrivel up and end my journey. I find comfort in the fact that next spring another plant will be born in the exact same spot, living their spring, summer, fall, and winter journey where I lived mine, except they will see it all through a different plant’s eyes.

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tjohnston said...
Sept. 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm
awesome story Sarina!  One of my favorites that you have written so far! so proud of you!!
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