Are you one of those people who save the best things for the last ... who eat all the chocolate sundae away from under the maraschino cherry? If so, you are very like the Peter W. Merrill Moonplant.
It had no awareness of time, and so did not know nor concern itself with the millennia that passed since it first drew up the dissolved silicates from the shifting grey remnants of soil and arranged them inside the walls of the thousand green pods that were its body cells, and settled down to wait. Somewhere within its fragile cortex, a tiny pulse of life beat. It was a feeble pulse, to be sure, and one that a man, unless he could observe it for a thousand years without blinking, would not be aware of. As the normal human heart beats seventy-two times a minute, so did this tiny swelling of tube contract once each hundred years; fifty tireless years of contraction, then fifty soothing years of relaxation, bringing the walls of the slender tube together, then letting them ease apart.
But it was sufficient for its life.
The pallid yellow sap was moved about inside the plant, once each hundred years, and the plasma of the silicon-protected cellular structure absorbed just the needed amount, bleeding off the waste products between the very molecules of the silicon buttresses, and patiently waiting the century out till the second helping came oozing around.
And so it lay dormant, through heat that could send a man into convulsions of agony in seconds, through cold that fractional degree lower than can be achieved in a scientific laboratory. It did not know where it was, nor what it was, nor how precarious--by cosmic standards--was its chance of survival, with sap enough stored in the stiff, coarse roots for only a few more million years.
It simply was, and knew that it was, and was satisfied.
Such a tiny organism can have only the most rudimentary of memories, but it remembered. Once--Once long before, there had been ... more.