Space Flora | Origins: Mother Saturn In All Her Glory
The root wrapped round and round, weaving around Saturn’s belt. The wood seemed to respect it, knowing the belt was more than just the sum of a bunch of stones on a merry-go-round. Like the others, it grew into its own agenda in the matter of days, enveloping Saturn and becoming the accessory to the accessory - or was it the other way around?
The funniest bit was that Saturn wasn’t even their destination. The Deep held stranger messages, whispered at the edge where the sun’s kingdom could no longer touch the drifting rocks. Where the light wasn’t. They’d argued on their shuttle, woven and stitched with roots granted them on Mars. Built like a cosmic wooden horse, carrying explorers instead of Trojans.
When the ring completed, the Jovian hardened. The space-dust settled into a walkable, dirt promenade much like our own Earth. Fertile land with flowers just out of reach, painting a stratosphere in pink, green and yellow petals springing from the Ring Root. She compacted, as she turned from clouds to ground.
As they passed by the inviting garden that had sprung before them, the arguments drifted like pollen on the solar winds, spreading from the Ring Root’s flowers as they bloomed. The wooden shuttle lurched through the vacuum towards Saturn as the crew circled back to the same point.
We’ll be the first to plant something on Saturn.
The crew resorted to the cerebral simian’s best selection tool, and played games of rock-paper-scissors to see who’d win the Armstrong moment. This moment was different though - the Moon had been solid for a countless amount of Armstrong’s lifetimes. This was fresh soil, birthed from what one could only assume was the spark of life circling around it. A first of firsts in every respect.
Tano’s calculated meteor shower of fleshy hand-rocks won him the prize, to the bewilderment of his crewmates. Skilled with machines instead of people, the explorer’s surprise barrage of schoolyard strategy had revealed an attentive mind behind the visor. The ship landed, its roots caressing the ground with a wonder shared with the crew inside. They began to burrow gently into the soil to give it a taste. Another planet sampled by the interplanetary gourmand the explorers called home.
The ship opened its doors gently, and Tano was lowered by a stray root that found the stars more interesting than the soil. There was no hard thud, as the ship’s root was careful in putting the human down. The stars watched as the astronaut worked into a slow gait, slowed further by the awe of his surroundings.
Tano knew better than to ask questions right now, though he’d let a few form: would all gas giants turn to this? Are there more waiting? Was this the endgame of Saturn all along?
No, the questions were distractions from the moment. Another pale dot only a stone’s throw from our pale blue one, awaiting the next step in the cycle. To feel here, below, what Tano saw up above: life in bloom.
The flower, like most of the ones on the wooden ship, did most of the work as Tano put it down. The roots burrowed, and it appeared to its liking. Detaching the hose from his suit, loaded with water they’d gathered from Venus, Tano gently nursed the first life on Saturn, wondering what the Ring Root must think of sharing its home with a little friend.
He looked up at the Ring Root, and found his answer as its seeds began to descend upon the soil.