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05 February 2021

Bird Seed by Beth McKeeman

From the smallest seed comes the growth of the world. Hanging in metal cages, swinging in the breeze, the sustenance of mother nature awaits its destiny, stomach or soil.

From trees that remain green and those clinging to the hope of returning spring, hungry chirps ring When quickened wings beat down, flapping out unsteady beats as they try to find grip on the frosted metal, seeds shake loose and fall. Down, down, to balding grass below, made muddy by dew.

And there the seed curls, tucking itself into the flowerbed, warming itself in the hibernating ground. Potential encapsulated in so little.

Yet still it is not safe. As the corn and other weeds grow a wild meadow in the lawn, the blackbird confounded by the hanging cages picks at the fallen remains of the sparrows feast. They hunt for their share, delving through the glade and blades into the comforting dirt to claim their prey.

As the days grow longer, the world warmer, brighter, colours patchworking the landscape, other more mobile prey will become available. The cycle is fertilised by the seeds that did not escape the winter scavenge, that have then been spread from the skies like bombs of construction. Sprouting in the most carefully cultivated hedgerows, in amongst the loganberries that haven’t produced fruit in years and the blackberries that more than make up for it. Creeping between the pansies and the irises and bringing life to the compost heap, giving it hair like a rotting troll.

The ants crawl like nits, searching for morsels to bring back to the queen who resides below the patio. They live a simple existence, following the roads set by others as they tow their haulage trucks back and forth, hoping to remain on the motorway as the sparrows and blue tits migrate to the troll to pick at it like monkeys, combing through to relieve his itching scalp.

In the sun, leaves crunch and in the wet, they mulch, feeding the ground for the growth of the seeds and roots buried within. The reaching strands grasping at the nutrients leaching into the soil, passing it through to new seeds and nuts set to fall or blow away or be consumed within fruits that ripen with every day, colourful in a completely different way to the opposite axis of the year. The preparation of continuation, of a place in the world, passing responsibility of life to those around or the ground below.

The seasons turn, the fruits on offer change, the plants grow, they die. The frost returns and the seeds fall once more.

The Mayflower Creative Writers January Blog brief is to write a piece of environmental storytelling with use of a central image the evolves and codes the piece throughout.


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