seedWhat is freedom? Is the seed of the tree free? I watch it floating down like a tiny helicopter, blades spinning furiously in the breeze. Caught by a sudden updraft, it is carried out of my sight. Tiny traveler in a big world... unbound and untouched by the limitations of gravity, unsullied by the soil beneath --are you really so free?

You carry within your heart a tree -- but the potential to grow is locked inside you, imprisoned by your very freedom. As a seed you will drift about, never unlocking the secrets of the sunlight, never shading the stranger, never bearing sweet fruit for the passers-by.

In spring you will fly about unnoticed, without welcoming the land's rebirth with fragrant blossoms. Autumn will come, but you will not show your leaves in resplendent color, nor give them to shelter the tiniest of creatures from the cold. No one will marvel at snow gracing your body like a queen enrobed in a garment of white purity.

In all your apparent freedom, you are left in obscurity and failed purpose.

Freedom indeed.

Another seed drops. In what seems an astounding act of self-sacrifice, it settles gently into the rain-softened forest floor, allowing itself to become embraced by the damp and fertile soil. Kissed by the waters of the spring rains, it opens to the powers of growth hidden in the ground. Then as if in a play of vegetative intimacy, played out in the darkness, the seed sends forth a root, becoming one with its earthen lover. No wind will move it again; it is forever bound to this place.

With the vernal warming, it emerges into the light, transformed by the dance consummated in the soil below. Only now, awakened into a new world, does the seed discover her true identity.

Tiny, barely a sapling, she is protected by the trees around her from the vagrant winds and downpours, that might threaten her at such a vulnerable time. She knows only to look up, to seek out the light from above which gives her strength, and the water from below that brings her life.

treesSeason follows season, and she grows, seeing times of beauty and fullness, times of paucity and barrenness. She never moves from her place in this forest.

A stranger passes and rests in her shade, enjoying the song of the tiny birds that have made their home in her branches. Her roots now strong and outspread, she gives strength to the soil whose embrace began her journey of self-discovery. Her fruit drops and provides food. She blossoms in spring, grows anew in the summer, is adorned in beautiful colors in autumn, and only in the winter does she sleep.

She awakens again in the springtime, and a tiny seed flutters by in the wind, hovering momentarily near her, almost as if mocking, "Moribund one, how sad that you are shackled by the earth, imprisoned. If only you were free."

The tree stretches forth a blossom, as if smiling.

A Jew is a tree in G-d's forest.
Torah is water.
The Divine Presence the Light,
And earth the place created for growth.

We join Heaven and Earth.
We have found our destiny.
We too, are free.

"Someday, if you are fortunate, you will understand. While you are unbound to the source of life, you are never really free. The greatest freedom is to have the opportunity to fulfill your destiny, to achieve your potential. You can see the world wherever you float, but never are a part of it, nor does it become part of you. Freedom without purpose is the worst kind of slavery. How privileged I am to be here, for what you perceive as confinement is for me the essence of possibility. Here I can transform light, water and earth into growth, providing gifts for the world. I join Heaven and Earth.

"Imprisoned, indeed!"



copyright 2005 by Susan(Shoshana) Zakar