I spend a lot of time sitting in a classroom full of first graders. Because of this fact, I find myself relearning a lot of things I've known for nearly 30 years. Actually, more often than not, I find myself realizing that a lot of the things I know, which I've assumed for years was knowledge I was born with, was in fact taught to me by a teacher many years ago. Anyway, week after week, the kids are given writing assignments to help them learn to think creatively. Creativity is not an easy thing to teach, especially if a kid is feeling particularly lazy about education in general. But that's a topic for another day. Earlier this week, the kids were given the task of writing about what it would be like to be a seed. They had to come up with a type of seed, how it travels and gets planted and what it might experience in that journey. So I got to thinking about what I could come up with as a writer. Here's what I've got...
I'm just a pumpkin seed. It's not a glamorous life, I know. People only get excited about pumpkins in the fall. But I guess it's no different for a candy cane, receiving attention only at Christmas time. Like I said, my life isn't glamorous. I can't say it's a thrill to be a pumpkin seed. But I'll tell you my story anyway.
I was liberated from my mother (a pumpkin) by an old woman in a kitchen. I knew nothing of the world when I emerged from my mother's dark shell. Imagine my surprise when her stem was cut off and light poured in. For the first time in my short life, I saw that my soft surroundings were a bright orange. The old woman scooped me out, along with my brothers and sisters, separating us from my mother's insides. It was pretty morbid, but I've since learned, that's how things are. It was just her time. I didn't know her very well, so I didn't mourn very long.
Once we, the seeds, were cleaned up, the old woman put us in a bag and set us to the side. It was nice to be surrounded by family, but we didn't have mouths, so it's not as if we could pass the time by speaking to each other. I really have no idea how much time passed, but eventually, we were moved. The next change came when an old man took us out of the bag and tossed us into the dirt. I didn't have a lot of time to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, but it was nice. Before I knew it, I was covered over with dirt, buried alive. I then realized that I may be cursed to spend a great deal of my life in the dark.
I couldn't accept that. I wanted to break free from my earthen prison. Soon, that's exactly what I did. I burst out of my shell, no longer content with being a seed. I worked my way up through the soil. I wanted to see the sun again. I wanted to feel the wind. As a vine, I was free to do just that. Eventually I became long enough to break the surface and I could feel the warmth of that glorious sunlight. It was amazing.
Time continued to pass. I continued to grow. Eventually, I grew my own fruit. I became my own pumpkin. If mother could see me now. I know I said I didn't really know her, but I'm sure she'd have been proud of her baby seed. I was getting pretty big. As a pumpkin, however, I couldn't see anything. No eyes. Not that I had eyes as a seed or as a vine. But the perception of a pumpkin is different than it was in those other stages of my life. Just take my word for it, okay?
I found myself in a kitchen, very similar to the one in which I was born. I was feeling really nostalgic. Again, I couldn't see it, it was just a feeling I had. It felt good. Until I felt the knife dig into my top. I was opened up, just like my mother had been. I had been so cold and uncaring when this had happened to mom. Now that I was going through it, I realized that my time had also come. There would be no one to mourn me.
I could feel something digging around inside me, scooping everything out of me. I felt so empty. I felt the sharp edge of the knife once more. This time, shapes were being cut into my side. Eyes! I had eyes for the first time! I could see clearly. I had been right, I was in a kitchen. I could see my own guts lying on a counter. Beside the pieces of me, I could see seeds. I had children of my own. I wondered if they would be planted, as I had been. Would they have a chance to grow into pumpkins themselves?
I wasn't just given eyes. I had been given a nose and a mouth. But I couldn't speak. I wish I'd been able to. Sure would have been fun to scare the woman who had gutted me. All I could do was sit and watch. I saw her put my offspring on a flat piece of metal. Then she placed that inside a large metal box. I could feel heat radiating from the box when she opened it up. Then it hit me, she was roasting the seeds! I wanted to shout out, but I couldn't. Leave my children alone, you monster! She cooked them before they even had a chance at life.
I was miserable. With my new nose, I could smell the seeds as they roasted. I wanted to leave this kitchen. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait long. I was carried outside and placed on a porch. From there, I watched days pass. It was boring. Until tonight, when I felt something placed inside me. It's warm and feels as if I'm glowing. Tonight, my view of that boring yard has become a lot more exciting. I've seen dozens of children, each dressed more strangely than the last. I can tell it's gotten late. I'm still glowing, but the people inside the house have turned off their lights.
This is strange, though. Someone's coming into the yard. Wait, why are they approaching me? They're older than the kids I've seen tonight. They're dressed in normal attire. I'm being picked up! I want to cry out for help, but I can't! I'm being lifted over someone's head! I'm scared! I don't like heights! No! Don't do this! I'm being thro--