We bought the farm, not to grow anything, but because it came with so much food. The farmer had died without a will and let it go for taxes, complete with furniture and cars, and in the barn some big machines we siphoned of their gas to joyride down the country lanes. The first and second seasons we passed lounging on big wicker chairs on the broad porch of the farmhouse, watching the sun rise and set over seas of produce waving in the breeze. Animals happened by as we sat, big-eyed, long-tailed, black and white animals hung with crude bells, trusting and slow, to chew the tender shoots that by rights were ours. We picked them off with rifles we found in the cabinet in the dining room until the ammunition ran out and we didn’t know how to reload. Plants are wasteful, we discovered. So little of what grows on them is really delicious and even the parts that are good soon lose their appeal. But worst of all, they don’t last very long. Of all the acres we command, we can’t have dined from more than a small percentage before everything died, and just as winter was coming on. Some birds about the size of a roasted chicken had moved into one of the smaller buildings; without their eggs I don’t think we’d have survived that age of ice. But now again the grass is greening and the days are getting longer. Little plants are sprouting from last year’s fallen crops. We look out over the softening earth and eat our omelets on the porch and smile in wonder and relief that the beautiful earth might soon reimburse us for the losses we sustained by trusting a farmer whose negligence failed to provide for our future.

Copyright © March 10, 2008 David Hodges