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Moonflower, by Rachel Hedman

by Rachel Hedman

At one time the plants existed peacefully in the Garden of Eden, but when Adam and Eve were cast out, there was chaos in the world.

Oaks and pines shoved each other’s trunks to get a better position of the sun’s rays and caused battle scars called “knots.” Those can still be seen today. Roses formed thorns to rip the leaves of other flowers and prevent others from taking their portion of the sun. Bark was just another name for armor while branches and thorns pierced like spears and arrows.

Seedlings never had a chance to get a taste for light. Casualties mounted from the greed and finally many flowers retreated to the meadows and to the fields. Trees and shrubs of the forest rejoiced in their victory but quickly turned on each other—the war far from over.

Refugee flowers could not rest long as dandelions soon dominated the fields.

When the moon appeared, all plants curled and clung their branches and leaves together so as to have enough energy to battle and fight once more when the sun rose.

One gray flower grew weary of this forever battle. She never bloomed for she never reached the light. The slightest nudge from a stem plunged her face first into the ground.

While in this position, she contemplated the possibility of becoming some kind of underground plant such as the potato or the carrot. Then she would not have to fight above ground. She slowly lifted her face and swung her bud downward into the dirt to dig a home underneath, but the presence of clay made one of her petals fall from the force. She was about to try a second time until she remembered that even underground plants need the sun.

She glanced at the red rose with thorns that seized petals of other flowers and wore them as medals of war. No one could conquer the rose.

The gray flower looked at the ground. Sharp-edged rocks surrounded her and a pine tree nearby was bleeding with sap from the last encounter with an oak tree. She stretched with one of her leaves and took some of the sap and rubbed it up and down her stem. Then she picked up some of the sharp-edged rocks and glued them to her. The first rock she placed on herself tore through her stem. She closed her eyes at the pain. She put on another rock and another rock and another rock. She glanced at the rose with tears in her eyes and finally pulled the rocks out. She was not meant to have thorns.

While healing from the cuts in her stems, she looked at the hardy dandelion. He could grow anywhere and everywhere and could squeeze through clay and stone alike. The dandelion even looked like the sun.

The gray flower lifted pebbles to strengthen her leaves and stem until finally she could advance to stones. She spied a stone as big as her head and wrapped her leaves around it. She could feel part of it lift from the ground and then she heard a terrifying rip. It was her stem. It had bent in half. Now the gray flower was forced to face the ground. Her spirit was gone and she knew she was doomed to extinction.

She curled closer to the ground and dreamed before she would die. She felt warmth on her cheeks and could feel her tightly closed bud open. Her petals were no longer gray but shone silver underneath the . . . she opened her eyes and saw not the glorious sun above but the majestic moon. She turned and saw the other flowers, shrubs, and trees sleeping. She alone rejoiced and bloomed during this peaceful night.

Few know of the beautiful silver Moonflower, but those who stroll along a path under a full moon shall never forget her.

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