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What the Garden Knows That the Summit Doesn’t

I used to climb mountains, but these days I blaze a trail in the garden from water tap to tomato plants and back. Shuffling back and forth with a big red watering can, now empty, now full, now poured over the seedlings, now light in my hands, now filling, now heavy again. Every day, twice a day, I water, weed and watch.

They do what they always do. Take all summer to solve the same old genetic code in wind, rain, sun and thunder. From seed to seedling to baby leaves to first bloom to full blossom to wilted petals to tiny green marbles. Hard as stones. Mistaken for mistakes. Ugly as warts.

They know their story arcs. Their transformation occurs without dramatic irony or cunning plot. No grandiose acts of hubris chart their storyline. No protagonist invokes tropes of tomato against tomato, tomato against nature, tomato against itself. They ask neither the moon for meaning nor the sun for enlightenment. They grow into themselves, trusting their roots and their yearnings.

Give them time and they grow fat. Take on colours to suit their size. Blush into oranges, into reds.

When they are ready, they pick me. I am chosen to savour. The fruit always remembers the seed, knows where it came from, knows how to return. It tastes like faith and delight.

Flash Fiction by Melissa Fu
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Published in Spring 2017


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