Somewhere deep in the middle of the desert, a seed started to sprout. As the wind blew layers of red sand across the earth, as the sun beat down hard, as the rain failed to show itself again and again, the little seedling reached tentatively above the surface, feeling the first shock of hot air. The days wore on. The seedling grew, dancing in the wind, soaking up the sun, feeling its tender edges rubbed raw and smooth by the constant battering of sand.
Its slender body developed a thick crust of skin. It grew arms, and more arms, and on those arms sprouted fingers, and tiny flecks of green leaves. The leaves absorbed the sun’s rays, passing heat and light and nutrients down through the trunk, into the roots that stretched far down into the cool earth, so deep they had found water. In turn, the roots passed this water upwards and outwards to every fingertip, every leaf, until the tree grew so tall it felt as if it must have a view of the entire desert, and that this desert was the whole world.
The wind said to the tree, ‘What business do you have here, growing in the middle of the desert?’
The tree said, ‘I don’t know, but I’m happy. Am I bothering you, Wind?’
The wind said nothing, but continued to bluster around, throwing sand. On some days, the wind bent the tree’s arms so far it was sure at least part of the tree would snap.
The sun said to the tree, ‘Isn’t it too hot for you here, Tree? Don’t you wish for a cool forest, surrounded by other trees? Where there are creatures you could be useful for, providing them a home?’
The tree knew nothing of forests or creatures. They sounded interesting, and maybe in another life it could be happy living amongst them. But now?
‘I have everything I need here,’ the tree said to the sun. ‘I’m happy. Does it bother you, Sun?’
The sun seemed to beat down harder then, blistering the tree’s already thick and hardy skin. The tree turned its leaves inwards for the afternoon, unfolding them again after the sun had gone to sleep. In the cool, calm evening air, the tree’s leaves sashayed under a universe of stars.
Despite this peaceful moment, the tree thought about the wind and the sun. It wondered, ‘Is it me? Am I wrong to feel happy where I am, with who I am, even though the wind and sun tell me I shouldn’t?’
That night, for the first time in the tree’s life, a thick grey cloud drifted across the sky, blanketing the stars. The tree watched in awe as the cloud drifted further and further, covering the world.
The tree called to the cloud, ‘Who are you?’
The cloud simply let one droplet fall onto the top of the tree. At the first taste of cold, clear, sweetness, the tree understood.
There was another droplet, and then another.
The tree stood joyfully in the middle of the red desert, in the night, in its first shower of rain.
It rained for days and days. The tree drank and drank. And then, as suddenly as it came, the cloud passed.
The sun said to the tree, ‘Isn’t it too hot for you here, Tree?’
And the wind said to the tree, ‘What business do you have here, Tree?’
But the tree, more nourished than ever by a friend they never saw, grew taller, and stretched its leaf-covered arms out further and further.
At its feet, if you look very closely, you can see a tiny seed starting to sprout.
is a writer inspired by nature, movement, human connectedness, and contributing to a world that values taking care of ourselves and each other above all else. She is the founder of Creative Write-it, and is based in Melbourne, Australia. Read more...