Friday, 10 June 2016

#Whimword - Seed

I've carried it with me for years.

The seed lives in a locket around my neck. I never take it off. It's a small thing, so tiny, but it means so much.

It represents hope. There has been precious little of that the last few years.

First there was the drought. No one knew quite why it was so bad, but everyone agreed it was the worst they'd ever seen. One moment we were happily living our lives and then suddenly there was no water. We had rations that were strictly controlled but even that didn't help. Crops died, and then the livestock. Food got as scarce as water. People were scared, and they lashed out.

The war was inevitable but it didn't need to get so bad. They didn't need to use the weapons they did.

Everything was desert already and the fighting just made it worse.

More people died. Unnecessarily.

A reduced population means each person gets more water than before but it's still barely adequate. And what water there is needs to be filtered and treated a dozen times before it can be used.

The land is poison. Nothing grows in it, nothing edible anyway. The few communities that are left have gotten pretty good at growing sickly, meagre plants with no soil and not enough water.

Life is hard and we all dream of rain.

I remember when I was a child, I would stand outside in a summer storm letting the rain soak through my clothes. The smell of ozone in the air and hot damp concrete. The sound of thunder rumbling in the distance. I remember feeling alive.

And after the storm passed the land would look greener than ever, lush and so very alive.

We took it for granted, all that water just falling from the sky. If we'd only known...

I don't remember the last time I saw a rainstorm.

That's why the seed I carry is so important: it's a reminder of all the things we have lost, a relic of a time when most people didn't kill each other to stay hydrated. It's a piece of history, possibly the last of its kind. The plants we grow now are hardy and drought-resistant; they have to be. I don't remember what kind of plant this seed came from, but I know it doesn't grow naturally any more.

But this seed is also hope for the future. I carry around my neck, next to my heart because I know that one day I will plant it. One day the soil will be healthy enough and water plentiful enough for it to grow, more than that, to thrive.

One day...

I have to believe that, otherwise there is no hope, no future. I have to believe things will get better or what's the point in fighting to stay alive?

And if not me then my children, or my children's children. One day the world will be right again, and my hope will flourish.

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