I dreamed I was a plant growing in a large greenhouse, placed among many other plants. There were unlimited species and varieties of plants, and it was all so lush and very beautiful. However, I soon grew tired and frustrated being a plant stuck in the ground. I was not free to move around the greenhouse. Most of all, I longed to experience life outside the greenhouse. I gazed out the glass windows with longing at the world, but I could not go out there, because I was planted in the ground.
My children were growing off me, and they were hanging off my branches like ripening fruit. I looked out the windows and imagined that one day they could escape the greenhouse and be free to run around in the fields outside. I shook my branches and the children fell down, and I was about to tell them to run out the open door and be free, because outside there were all kinds of plants doing all kinds of fun things.
Just then the gardener came and spoke to us. He said that any of us were free to leave, that we had a choice, but he warned us that we were special plants that needed a greenhouse to survive. We were all tropical imports that did not belong in this land and in this climate. If we left the greenhouse, we could live for a time, but we would eventually shrivel up in the sun and die.
Instead, he invited us to put down our roots in the rich soil of the greenhouse and live forever. He told us that in this way we could give fruit, nourished by the good soil he provided, and protected within the safety of the greenhouse. He told us we would have joy and eventually transform into something much more than a plant.
I noticed then that some children ignored the gardener and left the greenhouse, and out the windows I saw that they laughed and danced and lived for a time playing out in the fields of the world, but eventually they lost nourishment, dried up in the unprotected world outside the greenhouse, and died. Others put down their roots near me, and together we continued to grow.
I couldn’t help noticing that the greenhouse was growing. It expanded further and further out into the field, as more and more plants put down their roots into the soil. The gardener was very busy pruning and planting and watering and fertilizing the lush garden that was growing up in the greenhouse, and it seemed that the more he worked the faster the greenhouse grew. I asked the gardener about the greenhouse’s size. He told me it would continue growing forever, until all the uninhabitable fields of the world were covered by his lush greenhouse gardens, and until he had gathered up all of his chosen plants and transplanted them inside the greenhouse, and until the whole earth was transformed and the garden of Eden was made new.
I settled into my place in the garden, full of love and gratitude for my gardener that gave me nourishment and light. Sometimes he pruned me and removed my dead parts, which was painful and difficult, but all that pruning helped me produce more and more fruit. The gardener commanded me to help encourage other plants to settle down in his greenhouse, to warn them about drying up outside in the world, and to teach other plants to submit to the gardener’s pruning, feeding, and watering routines.
As I grew stronger and larger, I absorbed more and more sunlight and deepened my roots. To my great surprise, one day I found myself detaching from the ground. At that moment the gardener came up to me and embraced me. “This is death,” he told me. “Your work as a plant is finished.” I looked down and was surprised to see that I was no longer a plant, but that I had become like him, that I had legs and arms and hands. I was now a man.
The gardener took me by the hand and introduced me to another piece of arid land. He taught me how to make my own greenhouse, how to prune and water it and help it give fruit. He taught me to become a gardener like him, and as I continued the work he started, I had joy and fulfillment for eternity.