The Glass Bell

by Lila Garb

Once upon a time there was a seed and it was buried deep, deep down in the garden. And there was a stirring within the seed; of an urge, and a reluctant feeling of incompleteness. The life of the flower stretched and yawned, knowing it was time but holding back, and the Urge exerted itself, shaking the flower's life gently, "It is time now, flower...the world waits!"

"Where is the bee that will gather my nectar?" asked the life of the flower, "is the bee made yet?"

"That is none of your affair, but of mine," answered the Urge, "The world is full of bees," But the feeling of incompleteness in the life of the flower overcame the Urge, and it looked at the seed curiously. "Can this be? Have I made a life that is not ready when the time is right?" Then it remembered all of the flowers and all of the bees it had ever made, and gathering up its strength, forced the life into the seed.

"Please...oh, please not yet! You haven't made my bee! Let me stay until you've made my..." With a tiny silent wail of longing the seed burst with the shoot. And as the shoot grew, the life of the flower was silenced. Up through the dark earth the Urge lifted the sprout and into the light of the sun. And the sun smiled at the baby flower, but it drooped its first two leaves and turned from it. And the sun said, "Perhaps it is thirsty and I am too bright." Then the rain fell gently upon the flower but it shivered, and the raindrops seemed like tears.

But slowly, lonesomely the flower grew and formed a bud, and a rare scent went forth from it. From afar the bees came and buzzed anxiously, but the flower refused to open. And the Urge said, "Have I silenced your life forever, flower? It is time to unfold your petals and bloom!"

The flower trembled and pressed itself tighter together against the Urge and against the bees; and the life of the flower awoke and asked, "Where is the bee that will gather my nectar?"