Nature News

Seed journey

Illustration of Jacey

Hajar piloted the mech over huge mountains, by means of grass-covered meadows virtually much like these of the Earth, aside from their orange spikes. She traveled by means of dense forests and wind-laden snow landscapes.

The mech seemed like an extension of his physique, by no means tiring, enveloping him like a pod defending his cargo.

Hajar reviewed the information from soil samples collected on the machine's toes. A composition wealthy in minerals on this area, however not sufficient nitrogen for agriculture.

In his pocket rested a blue stone.


When Hajar was six years outdated, again on Earth, she introduced a seed to her father. "What’s it?" She requested.

He took her on the kitchen counter and kissed her nostril. "It's a boxelder maple seed. Look how it’s held on this skinny layer, like a paper coat. "

"How did he get right here?"

His father instructed him that the seeds have been touring within the wind and within the water, in onerous nuts shells and fruit covers, carried on animal coats or crushed of their digestive tract, pushed beneath earth by bugs, buried by squirrels, dispersed by double pressure. stress and gravity.

The blackberry vegetation unfold their creeping vines, plunging thorns into the bottom. The coconuts embark on sea voyages, carrying the burden of meat and milk, to sprout on the sand of distant seashores. Dandelion seeds dance within the air and maple boxelder encloses its seeds in skinny wings to softly slide them.


Hajar triggered the wings on the mech and jumped off a cliff, sliding in giant curls till she touched the bottom. The palms of the mech examined the air for breathability and temperature, and looked for spores.

Ahead was the mech. Hajar learn the messages of others. Nathaniel was heading north from a desert within the western hemisphere, whereas Denisa had found a promising space close to the equator. Arwa had finished an interesting preliminary survey of bugs in a grassland biome. No person had heard of Suraya, aside from a terse message that she had landed and was exploring, however she tended to stay silent on the fallacious days.

All of them had their very own secret sorrows, able to flourish. Nathaniel refused to take heed to Debussy, besides on days when he listened to nothing else, and the melody of 'Clair De Lune' floated on the ship. Arwa had a singular, mild inexperienced, fish-themed cup of tea that she hid in her quarters. Every member of the crew had left somebody behind. They carried their grief in several methods: on photos and letters, on knitted scarves and handwritten recipes, on atypical objects resembling tea cups and brooms, chipped pots and blue stones.

The mech walked beneath an alien sundown. When it's too darkish to see, Hajar stops the machine. She took the blue stone out of her pocket and turned it over. Earlier than leaving Earth, his father had folded the stone in his palms, his light inexperienced hat flipping again, his palms smelling cinnamon of cooking. The stone got here from his backyard, prized within the mud. "Discover a new place for that," he stated, planting these phrases within the house reserved for goodbyes. That's what she introduced again from Earth, what she wore.

As we speak, the stone was tough towards his fingers. She considered her father, imagined the sound of the mixer brewing her breakfast, the worn leather-based of her climbing footwear, her assortment of rocks scattered over geology books on the kitchen counter.

Lastly, she slept, the stone in her palms.


For his thesis, Hajar has been finding out the dispersal methods of the Oenothera deltoides seeds, the desert plant of the California desert.

The plant travels like this: when the dunes transfer, the roots are uncovered. The background background, leaving the plant beneath the sunshine of an insufferable solar. The plant dies by folding its roots again on itself: a birdcage, a wicker ball. The wind pulls the manufacturing facility miles from his dwelling. When the plant is sheltered from the wind, seeds escape the community.

New vegetation are born, much like these of the phoenix, of the ball.


The mech has emerged in a clearing lined with grass. Flowers with three petals bent within the wind.

The soil readings have been good. A river rushed to the east, consuming water.

Hajar despatched a message to others. A liveable zone so as to add to the record. She imagined all of them within the meadow, working the soil, constructing homes with the sturdy bioplastic they’d introduced.

Hajar got here out of the mech. For the primary time, she felt the air of the planet on her face. The wind bore the scent of grass simmering within the solar and moist soil.

Subsequent to it, a thick tree with seeds wrapped in a versatile coating, within the method of a field maple.

At some point, his father instructed him how the seeds traveled – in arid deserts and wealthy soils, by means of woods and tundra, throughout oceans and rivers. In centimeters or kilometers, they go.

All don’t survive.

The seeds journey, fall, fall, swept till they will not journey.

The place they land, it's at dwelling. They root, they develop up.

She would have favored her father to be there. The seeds, she tells him, are designed to journey, to seek for liveable areas, abandoning their ancestors and projecting themselves into an enormous future.

Hajar slipped the blue stone out of his pocket. This place felt good, already energetic. What number of seeds have been nonetheless underground, ready to develop?

She squeezed the stone towards it, then buried it within the delicate earth.

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