James Manalo

The Seedling, by James Ryan Manalo

By James Ryan Manalo

We are seedlings kept in a basket.

The Master sets us out on a doorstep. Some of us catch the sunshine, but only a few of us; most of us are deprived of the sunlight. When the sprinkling of water reaches us, little will be fought over by many. While the privileged seeds are well-watered and have plenty of exposure to sunlight, the other seeds are kept under the shade, and the roots of the privileged seeds reach us taking in more water that could have been ours.

One day, the wind blew strong. Some seeds chose to stay in the basket and became contented with the way things are. They are comfortable with little water and sunlight and being kept in the shade.

Others let the winds toss them away. It is painful and difficult, but that is the only way to the abundance of water and sunlight. They land on the side of the basket where sunlight and water abounds. Slowly, they grow and their roots become well-entrenched.

A few years later, they become massive. Their leaves are like domes and they have wide trunks and roots like octopus’ tentacles. These are the seedlings who amass large amounts of water, and are the recipients of right touch of sunlight.

They now protect old people from the sweltering sun. During rainy days, they make sure the water will not reach dangerous levels. They are happily hosting birds who build nests in their branches and give them food with their fruits.

I was once a seedling deprived of water and sunlight, which stunted my growth. I almost never made it out of the basket, if I didn’t let myself away with the wind.
Sure, the winds will get stronger as I grow inch by inch. The waters that are coming might be colossal waves. The combination of wind and water might uproot me altogether. But the birds I let live under my leaves have scattered some of my seeds. The old people who relieved under the cool of my shade might nourish me after the calamity.

We are all born a seedling. Some never sprout a leaf. Some wither under the tremendous heat. Some bloat on an excessive stay in the water. But few become trees that give shelter. Few welcome birds to live under their leaves. And those trees who are impatient to grow fast are chopped down by loggers.

The Master might set us out on an unfavorable place in the basket, but it is the duty of a good seed to get out of the basket and set their roots elsewhere.


James Ryan Manalo
is originally from the Philippines and has been an aspiring writer since elementary school.
James now lives in Calgary with his wife and son.

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