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He spoke to me through Gaia’s teeth; all stony cuspids and earthen gums, and the words were like hail stones and clods that rained without cessation. Stormy, both night and day, until no hint of delicate leaves or hungry tendrils remained. He spread words like manure over everything and swore it was well-intended; but all living things know desecration from development, agriculture from acrimony, and the scent was not of fecund life but desiccated, diseased death.
Never had I seen such mad abandon within the garden walls; in shock, I raced to find the groundskeeper. Trembling, I led the old man and his rusty hoe to the scene and stood in shocked silence as I waited for his words; I waited for something that would have this make sense. Can there be a way to render the feeling of agonized fear that struck when the old one began trembling, too? “Get out,” he whispered; his voice as light and dry as autumn leaves, “run far, fast, and do not look back, not ever.” I listened. And I ran. The sound of thudding, frozen rock and whistling earth finally fading as I passed from the place where once there was peace and pondered if ever I would again find its like.
I did, of course. The world is made of green and growing things; there is nothing of us that cannot flower so long as we’re willing to sink into soil; feel its richness and how it humbly rises to meet us no matter time nor distance, it’s welcome, eternal, so long as we are willing to be still and receive it. Now and again, I wonder what became of the old one, but the wind brings occasional comfort in the sound of dry leaves and the feel of cool breeze and I then remember the most important insight he gave me and am content: No meeting occurs but that it plants a seed and no parting occurs so long as memory grows.
I trickle soft streams of nourishment over this place, in the spot where the first shoots appeared and smile for the sense of truth in the silence; the flowers have only just begun to show themselves, tremulous and tender, yes; but as he promised, they are here.