autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.


The world has forgotten how to garden; no more memories of aerating soil, nourishing mulch, and hands sealing seed into it. The connection to land and the cycle of growth is a withered thing; it hangs like a desiccated husk, rustling in the wind. The only thing worse is to be gardener and find no place at which to believe anything could grow. The dirt under my fingernails is almost gone and sand won’t stick the way soil will; all hungry, happy, heaped under the thinnest line of human fiber that sinks to hold and lift and shape for the placement of the next pattern; the seed, the shape of the thing in itself.

I do not recognize the things that hunker over the ground these days. These are no soft swaying photosynthetic things; they are carnivorous, they snatch at whatever passes by and take it to themselves to suck dry and render sterile. The ground around them, it is littered with corpses; evidence of such niggardly nourishment, that which knows not how to return or restore.

The soft and tender things get trampled, it seems. No one ever seems to know how to do more than bruise them, hold them down until they weep, use them up until nothing but rocky ground remains and then, be surprised to find it all cold and impervious and unforgiving. What should one expect to find under flowers and soft soil? What should one expect when every tender thing is uprooted and cast aside?

Only bedrock rests underneath and when found, when all else is riven from ground, when there is nothing left to nestle or nourish then, yes, such selfish things find the ends they thought only to render to others; at last, the lesson, both seen and understood. But it is too late; there is no nourishment of bedrock, no tender shoots can its stony expanse bear, the only thing pure rock such as this knows is how to refuse, resist, and rebuke. What else could you expect? Think you tunnel to the core and find only and ever greenery and endless blooms? What foolish beings, these humans; who pay no mind to what they see and are forever shocked and dismayed at the effects they enact.

Here, within the smallest terrarium, myself, I look out and see the barren, flat, and unforgiving expanse of bedrock; to the vanishing point in every direction, it stretches. I have watched every acre fall to such hands as what so gently knocks just there, upon the very door! Sweet voice and sing-song serenade, “Oh, surrender and such treasures I shall bring!” I swallow back the bile and shudder and say more stony honest in return, “I see no dirt upon your hands, I find no trace of living things upon you. I smell no scent of sweat earned in far fields nor see no flecks of grain or grass in your hair. You are not of the garden, but of that death that stretches in all directions as far as the eye can see.”

The knocking stops. It always stops. The world is not yet so empty that raising the fortified places is interesting. The booted foot-falls depart and I kneel and wish harder than ever before that The Farmer were here. He would know what to do; he always does. He is maker and master of this place; his husk is green and ribbed and his voice is rich with the Fado; his hands are grimed with soils and his skin is stained for love of dirt and growing things.

I yearn for fallow things made fertile. I wait for the plow and the planting. I dream of distant harvest; full, sweet, and tenderly taken by hands that know more than how to destroy.