Sunday, May 14, 2006

Fields of Numbers Streaming Past

It’s like that moment when you have the irrefutable urge to become a farmer.

Maybe it’s wanting to become part of the soil, become part of the last thing that’s whole and sacred and real again.

“I met this girl before I left,” Evan told us, as we wiped the sweat from our brows and gazed out across Athens, “and all I want to do when I get home is fall off the edge of the world with her and pick mangoes.” (To this day, Evan’s words about some phantom girl remain solidified in my mind as the only proof that love exists.)

Maybe it’s the need to create something, to grow something of your own. Courtney told she’d have animals on her farm. (She’d probably have two of each, like Noah’s ark, but there’d always be calves, foals and colts in the spring. There’d be chicks and kids and lambs and kits and enough baby animals to constitute a children’s secretly educational bedtime story.)

I told her that on my farm I would grow crops. I like the idea of dirt under my fingernails, and fresh green curls of life peeking out of the top of black, moist soil.

When I was a kid, I used to hope that whenever I swallowed a watermelon seed, it would take root and the tendrils would clasp into my stomach, until I could open my mouth and feel the rustle of the leaves in my throat. (I started swallowing the thick, black seeds on purpose.)

When that didn’t work, I used to plant apple seeds. (I’m the only kid I know who actually grew an apple tree from seeds that I saved from a school lunch.) Two leafs appeared on the top of a bark-like stem, and I had great aspirations for it.

It died.

I feel like swallowing watermelon seeds, throwing breadcrumbs to pigeons and ducks. I feel like planting apple seeds, and having dirt under my nails and rough soles on my feet.

But more than anything, I feel like falling off the edge of the world and picking mangoes.


  1. no not mangoes. never mangoes. if you want to know why just ask me. i have pics. don't ever say that. its a world of pain and suffering. damn you now i will go to bed in horror. fucking wretched mangoes. bad idea. very bad.

  2. Anonymous5:19 AM

    Some things you remember forever. Evan and mangoes are definitely one of those.

  3. I want to plant a herb garden on my rooftop patio in 2 weeks. Mabye if you make it to Ottawa before your trip, that could be our project? I will also have a world of junk that will need organizing after the move. I know how much you love to organize. By the sounds of it, it is better than picking mangos.

    ps. Not sure if I will make it to Toronto this weekend due to the catering, but I will let you know, when you let me know what the dealio is.

  4. Mangoes are some tasty.

    And I've tried to grow and apple tree so many times, its ridiculous. I'm impressed that you got it to grow. Too bad it died. Having your own apple tree would rock.

  5. My "American Dream" involves a huge plot of land somewhere in the Great Lakes region (either side of the border -- doesn't matter), a moderately sized stone farm house and a large green house to continue growing throughout the winter.

    My great-grand-dad was a farmer. My grand-dad was a farmer and a railroad brakeman. My dad worked in the steel mill. I'm a computer programmer...But all I really want to be is a farmer.

  6. Anonymous4:37 PM

    I'd settle for simple Saskatoon berries.

  7. Anonymous12:33 AM

    i used to live in "the country" and we had an amazing vegetable garden. I remember being so impressed with the way I could just go out and pick a leaf of lettuce and just eat it right there. I even secretly liked the tasty crunch of little dirt particles...

  8. Anonymous7:44 PM

    there's nothing wrong with eatin' dirt!

    It helps you get valuable vitamin b12.

  9. Anonymous9:13 PM

    does it really? that is good news, cause i am a vegetarian.

  10. Anonymous7:34 PM

    it does!
    another key source of b12 for veggies is nutritional yeast.. it's a cornerstone of most of my meals.

  11. Anonymous11:13 PM

    no way!?! that is crazy... when i was in daycare we used to have movie days every now and then (with real old school film projectors and fun NFB flicks) and we always had popcorn with yeast on it 'cause all of our food was veggie friendly. and when we finished the popcorn we'd all stick our hands into the bowl and lick off the rest of the yeast.. because it was sooo good and tasty, but i don't think i've had it since then and i certainly never knew it was so good for me (though really i'm not surprised).

  12. Anonymous9:13 PM

    a veggie friendly daycare! lucky kiddo.

    black flies, little black flies, always the blackfliesnomatterwhereyougo.