Valerie Wedel

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The Tree Who Became a Seed
A Mid Life Fable 2013


Disruptive events in our lives are to be expected, but the aftereffects of these changes can be surprising. While recovering from something - a health issue or a tragic event, we don’t necessarily want to go back to living the same life we had before. What does the new life look like? Sometimes the realization requires a weird journey.

Text for The Tree Who Became a Seed

Once upon a time there was a tree. She wasn’t the tallest or the most beautiful tree in the forest but she had gained some wisdom in her years and had very much enjoyed her tree-existence.

She delighted in the birds and squirrels who would chatter among her branches and experienced the loss of fall leaves and the subsequent spring re-growth with grace.

She produced nuts with a unique flavor which the birds and squirrels found tasty. Being tuned in to her own nature as a tree, she upheld her treeness quite well.

The tree cannot pinpoint exactly when it started, but one day she found she was working much harder than before to maintain herself.

She still produced her nuts and leaves, in fact, a bit more than usual. But, she found she had no energy left to enjoy the birds’ songs and had forgotten the names of most of the squirrels.

Winter came, which was a relief, as it meant the tree got a break. “By the time spring rolls around I’ll be well-rested and back to normal,” she thought and sat back, relishing the magnificent snow formations on her branches.

After a lovely and relaxing winter, the tree opened her eyes but the world was not as she usually knew it in spring.

She expected a slow start to her leaf growth and the birds and squirrels would take some time to arrive-early spring could be quite winter-like. But this time, things were radically different.

For starters, she could not see the sun. No sun. Only an afterimage in her mind. Somehow, this did not alarm her for there was a deep, deep memory of having had a similar experience.

Without the sun, it was, of course, dark. Next, she realized she could not feel the breeze dancing through her branches. She just felt consistently cold and damp.

Taking further stock of her circumstances, she sensed a not-unpleasant pressure at her top and sides. Again, it was a sensation she had not felt for many, many years, the memory of which was among her very earliest.

Instead of the varied smells she was accustomed to, all she could smell now was earth. What a curious situation!

Once she had realized the nature of her surroundings, she attempted to determine where she was exactly. She did not recall having been uprooted and transplanted and found it unlikely that she had been chopped down.

Ironically, even though she could not move, she no longer felt rooted. “Wait a minute,” she said to herself, “if I no longer feel rooted it must mean it’s because I have no roots!”

With great concentrated effort she also realized that she no longer had any branches, leaf buds, stems, or bark. Without knowing her form and therefore not knowing her part in the theatre of life, she did not know how to act.

Days passed and nothing happened. Nothing. What an odd experience for a full-grown tree. Strangely, she felt fine and often quite happy despite her 180° turn, just curious as to what she really was.

In the meantime, she had lots of opportunity to dream…

Eventually, a revelation came to her– “I’m a seed! I’ve turned back into a seed!”

And so she was.