The Garden

I awake from my daily prayer sitting in my garden, the sun hitting my skin and covering me with its radiant warmth before it is pushed away by a passing breeze.

The finches chirp overhead before the greedy jay bird chases them off, wanting all the riches of my feeder to herself. I tend to my plants, filling their cups until they can drink no more, plucking any sickly leaves, and ensuring their health.

I turn to my compost pile, once a mound of dry clay, laid hard and barren for as long as I had known it, now growing darker and richer in color by the day. The lawn clippings and thistle I had buried in it the week prior have now become mere fibers, being soaked back into the soil they had once grown from. A sizable pile had accumulated in my food-scraps bin and today is the day they shall join the earth once again. As I turn over the pile, I pour in the bin's contents and see remnants of the past weeks: onion skins, banana peels, cabbage leaves, and coffee grounds. Before my eyes I watch as the foul-odored scraps become less and less distinct from one another, being coated in a fine layer of mud, being chopped with my shovel like I had done so with my knife prior. Some day this soil will too feed my plants, who in turn will feed me. With each passing day I see my children grow more and more, their leaves widening, their stems hardening, their flowers blooming, and their vines climbing ever higher towards the sky.

I sit down once more in the clover patch of the lawn and watch the honeybees jump from flower to flower, each performing her part in a centuries-long tradition. How am I so different than her? sewing my crops, tending to them, like my many-greats grandfather did before me all those years ago in the fertile crescent.

I arise once more for some weeding. As I am pulling out the thistle I notice that the morning glory has grown itself around my spiny victim. I imagine for a moment a great battle between the two, one ensnaring itself around the other before delivering a finishing blow. However, I look again and see that there is no quarrel between the two neighbors, the vine may weave its way around the spikes, but it is not harmed, nor does this embrace halt the thistle from growing ever higher. I laugh at myself for being so foolish, we are not all warring apes in this life.

As I drag my bundle of thistle to the compost pile, I see a stalk of pokeweed peeking out behind the fence post, the perfect height for harvesting. Although he is considered a weed, his leaves hold many vital nutrients, though only once stripped of his toxins. Then my attention is drawn to another "weed", the humble dandelion, so rich in nutrients and hearty enough to grow through even the toughest of pavements, only for us apes to go to war with it with toxins of our own.

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