The World Outside These Walls: A Journal of the Natural World

by Theodora Thoreua-Roosevelt, Professional Window Washer and Amateur Naturalist

Recovered by Jim McDoniel

ENTRY 3: The Potential of Life

While it is categorically untrue that the world beyond the tunnel walls of HartLife is an uninhabitable wasteland, after all how can it be when I live out here sweatered but quite comfortably, let us pretend for a moment that it is true. Let us assume that nothing can live on the surface, not a single creature of fur or feather, not a single plant of fir or heather, not a single cell of the most hardy bacteria. Even in this imagined world, hope springs eternal as the potential of life remains.

Six months ago while digging a new latrine, I made the most marvelous discovery. After mining my way through the compacted ice and snow, then through the layers of frozen earth, I uncovered a strange little object. After cross-referencing it against the ancient records in my private “liberated” library, I found it to be called an “acorn.” An “acorn” is the seed from which a certain type of “tree” called an “oak” develops.
I could have kept the curiosity within my cataloged collection. I could have turned it into the corporation. I could even have used it to make a lovely tea. However, according to the records, preserved seeds in the past were known to grow after hundreds or even thousands of years. I had to see this for myself.

After procuring some good earth from a young mole and some good fertilizer from a PWC, I went about my experiment. Setting both soil and nightsoil in my new water bucket (which the corporation calls more efficient and I call smaller) I planted the acorn just beneath the surface as recommended by the text. The rest of its needs were provided by me and me alone. It received light from my UV lamps, heat from my stove, and water from my bowels, purified of course. As for conversation, which according to some of my books, helps with the growing process, I named it Alan and read it the daily reports. Even if it weren’t the only one of its kind known to exist, it would still be the best informed of its kind known to exist.
After several weeks of watering and lively debates, the first shoots appeared. Small and green they quickly rose above the surface of the soil and shortly thereafter leaves appeared. Life prevailed!

As I said, this was approximately six months ago. Alan is now nearly a foot tall. His once soft and green stem has browned and hardened into wood and already he is branching off in several areas. He has a rather full foliage for a tree his age, and I’m sure if it weren’t for the constant heat and light my room provides, he would engage in seasonal changes of color. In a year or two, I expect I will be forced to move him to another secret location that I have selected for both his comfort and growth. Until that time, my sitting room shall be filled by life’s great potential.

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