Seeds

Seeds are amazing things.  Little bundles of potential (though I’m no Aristotelian), seeds have a world of options ahead of them, much like, well, everything really, and they can plan to live or to die, but chances are they’ll live and grow.  Some will be trees, some will be humans, and some will be metaphors—metaphors for the new, the possible, the fantastic.  Some seeds are crystals dropped in saturated solutions, well prepared to grow a brilliant new possibility, a fantastic work of God’s own art, a crystal bigger and better than the one that started it all.  Some seeds are ideas dropped in a saturated mind, creating trees, humans, and metaphors, forming new ideas from the endless possibilities and weaving them together to form the bright and the fantastic.  A seed can be a single word, maybe an adjective.  A seed could be an awkward construction.  A seed could be a repetition.  It could be a break in the repetition.  A seed could be a phrase, maybe “catching lightning” or “nightmare collector.”  Or it could be a person.

A seed could be you.  A seed could be me.

I am a seed.  Seeds have a story to tell, a story of a trip, no, a journey, between the small and the large, the huge, the gigantic.  Between the boy and the man, the mess I make and the pills I take.  Between the fragment and the sentence.  I have a story to tell, like any person, like any seed.  That story is not to be told now, but later, when I am done telling you the poetry of my beginnings and the themes I carry.  The themes are the vessels running through the body of my work and my life.  They carry ink to and from my heart, between it and the page.  And the page is a vessel too, carrying my heart to and from your own.  You will read my heart, because I put it on the page always, and you will see who I am and I will not be ashamed, because I have not really told you who I am.  That heart is in my journals, and you may not read them.

But the heart that beats on the page is part of my truest heart (a part, a ventricle, perhaps), and you can catch a glimpse of Me as I donate my life blood to you and you can live and bleed Me.  Just a little.  What I am trying to say is, I am telling the truth.

Do seeds always tell the truth?  I think lies grow from spores.

But if you can see my heart and circulate my blood, then perhaps I will carry a pint of yours back into my veins, and then you will be a seed whose story I will read and live.

And tell.  Because I am a storyteller.

I am a storyteller in training, I suppose, because I made most of them from scratch and only finished a few.  Your story, if I told it, would be one of the first.  I told my own story once (a slice, really), and called it “Gives Me Life” after a mistranslation I once gathered of a French song title, because after all there is one who gives me life, and I knew the story should be a tribute to Him.  My story is easy to tell.  I’ve lived it for long enough to see the themes, the veins in the leaves of the tree that grows from the seeds, for even trees have veins, though they’re called xylem and phloem and they carry water and sugar instead of blood.  Maybe I’m a tree.  Maybe I’m still a seed.  Or an egg.

But the emerging theme to my story is that it is a story, and that I am a storyteller, one who tells my own story and those of others.  I grow stories from seeds.  A seed could be me.  A seed could be you.

The growth of seeds, the growth of stories, is a miracle, something science will never be able to replicate.  Some engineers dream of making machines that can make more of themselves (the machines, not the engineers), but it’s far out of their reach, and always will be, unless crude imitations can pass for success.  And nobody likes their creations to be cheap.  Seeds, you must understand, are tiny, and yet have more potential to grow and to replicate than any robot ever will have.  Stories are living.  Robots are not.  And perhaps we could say that some people are robots (I think I had one for a roommate once), but probably even they have stories.  They’re just not that interesting.

But they could be.

See, stories are everywhere, just like seeds, and stories can be boring or thrilling depending on the whims and skill of the author.  They tell me I can write.  But really I strive to be a mirror.  I strive to be an accurate mirror, not a fun house one that makes people look strange or one that makes people look thinner and more handsome (or pretty, if you prefer), unless those people are already funny-looking or thin or handsome (or pretty, if you prefer.)  I strive to be a mirror so that I can say only what is true.

Because seeds should grow true, not as poison ivy or choking kudzu, not as diseased trees or briars.  Seeds should grow into magnificent sequoias that can survive fires and never be cut down because they are too large and strong to ever be destroyed.  Seeds should grow true, not as spores grow into fungus to feed on rot, but as cones grow into tall, straight, and sky-reaching pines.  And when seeds grow true and magnificent, people can climb them or picnic in their shade or perhaps build a fort high up in the branches for children to enjoy.

Or perhaps seeds and eggs (both of great potential) will join together to form humans, who more than metaphors form stories worth telling and will be told, if only I could be their mirror.  I will reflect your heart if only you would allow me to bleed your blood, and soon I will tell your story, and others, with your permission, will share your experiences and learn from you just as I have and will.

Because I am a storyteller, and stories must be told just as seeds must grow and become what they were meant to be.

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About Joel Wilcox

I'm a writer, photographer, visual artist, and world traveler who is also currently an academic slave (read: Graduate student). I put the (de) in the fine lines.
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