All I’m saying, all I know and all I want you to hear, is that everybody could be happy with bigger hearts and smaller hands. We have so few responsibilities. Dip a cup into the stream. Everything else is just trouble we get ourselves into. The world so green and sunny grows its own food, scrubs its own air, charts its course without any interference from us. What falls from the trees is ours to enjoy until somebody builds a ladder, then lays it down against a post to make a fence. We’re passengers, or should be, not pilots nor even crew. Collect enough food from the bushes and trees to survive the trip should cover it. If necessary, kill something delicious. Trouble is, he thought—Oh, and stop taking what little I have. Trouble is, from seeing two trees we learn to imagine an orchard. Wild fire sweeping through the branches teaches us appetite. And spending two nights with the girl of my dreams, he imagined all other men murdered. In theory, he was a better lover than in practice, and in practice he was a better carpenter than a husbander of either girls or trees. He built my girl a house in the orchard and planted a fence all round. I couldn’t have taken her back, I suppose, so I clung to what I told myself was the better part of her and went on my way. His fruit trees choked on worms. His beautiful girl closed every window and door and grew more beautiful day by day and more distant. But the fence took root and flourished and fed on the generous earth and overgrew the orchard and the shut down house, the girl so green and sunny and the man who counted one, two, all.

Copyright © February 11, 2007 David Hodges

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