“There are just a few things,” said the good farmer with a knowing smile, “that'll make your garden grow. First, plant lovingly. Give your sprouts room to grow. To stretch out and take root.” “Second,” he said, taking off his dusty cap and leaning in closely to my bare shoulder, dusting it gently with Beam-laced breath, breath that spoke of a thousand sunrises, “Don't ever bullshit what you put into the ground. You've got to do it with all the love and trust and water and honesty you can muster. There isn't any other way. You don't plant roses and treat them like they were corn.”
“To plant,” he continued, “is to forget what happened last season. And to harvest is to remember what the next has, yet, to offer. Love what you grow, hon. And give it what it needs. Don't worry if you don't know what you don't know, you'll figure it out. But don't try to grow too many things at once. Focus on what's in the ground or you risk losing it all. Take it from an old man. This advice is all I've got.”
He put a peach into my hand without saying a word, and turned toward the field. He walked away with his head down, his eyes studying the ground. His long frame bent slightly.
He turned to me a final time and smiled. “Your garden will grow, hon. Just remember to pull your weeds. Even the ones that look like flowers. Don't be fooled.”
He was gone; I shuffled my bare feet in the dust and dirt as I moved back to the car. My notebook in my lap, my pen uncapped.
I bit into his peach with fervent hunger.
Juice ran down my face and stained my cheeks.
We eat and devour each other. Sometimes carnivorously. Sometimes with carnivalesque outcomes. And the carnage of others' catastrophes. Others' cuts.
I devoured his peach and pocketed the pit. Satiated and full of knowledge learned by speaking in tongues and charming snakes while eating his otherworldly fruit.
And I drove home, past the suburbs, the train yard, and the burnt out buildings, until the horizon met the silhouettes of barren trees lined up in perfect formation, waiting patiently, one to a match, for their next foray.
I put the pit into the ground and I waited, patiently, with them.