Space Flora | Origins: One Small Step For Hibiscus
Hibiscus was a red beauty, with deep roots in the best patch of soil in the whole flower field, surrounded by sunflowers, orchids, rose bushes and lilies. The flower was beyond healthy, and even had a gorgeous view over the whole Flower Valley. The other flowers agreed - Hibiscus was strong, beautiful, and extraordinarily lucky with its spot on the hill - any flower would trade places in a heartbeat.
But Hibiscus had always been different from the others. When the flower field swayed left, Hibiscus swayed right. When they all slept under the glowing moonlight, Hibiscus would dance in the rays of the night sky, drinking in the solace. The sunflowers and orchids, the rose bushes and lilies, all accepted that the red flower was a bit different than the rest. Yet, it came as a huge shock to everyone when Hibiscus decided to trade away the best spot in the field.
The rose bushes, especially nosy amongst flowers, would prod and prick. Why? Hibiscus had everything. With the most nutritious soil, and plenty of sunlight, Hibiscus would surely outlive most of the Flower Valley. But Hibiscus never answered. Not because the red flower was rude, but it had simply gotten used to being the field’s biggest puzzle. An answer would simply lead to more questions.
A few days later, Hibiscus was moved, and a large sunflower took its place. The sunflower had gotten wealthy off its travels from the sun, spreading its children far and wide. In return, a box was given to Hibiscus, who had now moved to a small patch in the shade of an oak tree.
The orchids pushed the lilies, and the lilies pushed the rose bushes - we gotta find out what’s in the box, they’d plead. So the bushes, once again, marched to the front line of neighbourly interrogation, and asked why.
This time, Hibiscus answered with a coy “you’ll see,” and began tinkering with the box. The rose bushes kept watch as the red flower assembled the parts, carefully screwing metal to metal. The lilies even tried asking their new neighbour, the large sunflower who had made the trade - but even the large business flower kept mum. This wasn’t for me to disclose, it would say.
News had spread across the Flower Valley like pollen, and to any other flower, the rumour mill would’ve been deafening. But, not to Hibiscus. The flower merely continued tinkering as the days turned to nights, and the nights turned to days again.
As the enigmatic project began taking form, it became clear that Hibiscus hadn’t merely bought a tinkering kit, to pass the time while hugging the shade of the oak tree. No - the flower was building a rocket ship!
This was too much for the flower field. The curiosity was beyond bubbling - it was boiling over like a kettle of mystery! Why? What could a flower possibly need a rocket ship for? They simply had to ask, they agreed amongst themselves. This had gone on for long enough. The Red Mystery of Flower Valley would have to answer.
The flowers prepared their list of questions, and triple checked each point. They didn’t want to offend Hibiscus - they all cared deeply for their friend, after all. It was agreed amongst the sunflowers and lilies, the orchids and rose bushes, that the questions would be levied tomorrow.
Hibiscus, however, had a schedule to keep, and after toiling for days on end, wrangling wrenches with petals and turning a thousand screws, the ship was ready. The flower unrooted, and moved inside the ship itself. The launch pad was ready, pre-flight checks complete. For the first time, the skies that had comforted the flower opened their arms to welcome it.
The loudness of the launch shook the whole Flower Valley, and everyone was jolted awake. Frustration, confusion, even anger spread amongst the flowers. How could Hibiscus just leave like that! Did the flower not like the valley? Did it not like them? Were they such awful company that the flower who had everything would trade it all to leave?
It was the rose bushes who understood first, as the rocket ship soared towards the heavens and into the great unknown. They looked over at the great sunflower that had taken the best spot, and saw the opposite of their friend.
The rootless sunflower had wanted a home to settle, but Hibiscus? The flower who had always chosen its own path in life? Hibiscus had lived a long time rooted under a sky beckoning it to explore. There was more to the world, and more to Hibiscus, than the Flower Valley it came from. For in spite of the flower’s deep roots, Hibiscus had wanted nothing more than to be rootless, among the stars that called the flower home.
So, for the first time in a long life, the flower field understood their friend... and with every night since, the flowers would take a moment to look up at the stars, and think of Hibiscus fondly - hoping its adventures would one day lead back to the Flower Valley.