A sudden breeze releases a cluster of samaras from the faint grasp of the sycamore. They flutter down, a hover of helicopters, to the delight of the toddlers waiting below with open arms.

“I want that one!”

“No, that one’s mine!”

They jump with delight, arms entwined, grappling for the best fliers, then throw their new favorite toys up in the air and cheer and giggle as they flutter down, again and again and again.

Then on to the next thing.

One by one, nature’s helicopters meet their makers – lawnmower blades, watery drains, bored little hands – until only one remains. It hides under an orange and yellow shroud of giant leaves, sinking slowly and purposefully into the soft earth below.

***

“Look Mama, the tree is waking up!”

The first hint of green glances out from the bleak brown branches towering over the house, unaware of what the doorbell is about to bring forth.

“Sweetie, it’s not waking up, it’s just some leaves. You know the man is coming to take the tree away today. It’s sick, and we need to cut it down.”

The boy looks at his mother, channeling the tree’s message of disapproval. “If it’s so sick, how come it’s waking up?”

“Come on, let’s get you to school.”

The tree stands stoically as the surgeons prepare their trays of instruments for the operation. As the rattling belt of the chainsaw and the gnawing teeth of the root grinder shake the earth, the seed lies still, gathering all it can from the soil around it.

***

“Oh come on, stop running through the flower beds, kids!”

Two pairs of tiny shoes vigorously trample purple pansies, shredding their delicate petals. The shoes run back and forth along the length of the garden, their inhabitants laughing hysterically every time they straddle the lone tree shoot at the back of the flower bed.

“Look, it goes ‘boing’!”

The shoot bends accommodatingly, then straightens, fanning its sparse collection of leaves as its roots fan out below, preparing for a long summer.

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