a metaphoric story of the way I sometimes feel.
Once, in a land ravaged by war there lived a farmer. The fields once green and filled with crops were gone. The land was scarred and unfit to grow even the hardiest weed. Chemicals and poisons used by the armies had created a barren desert, littered with unrecognizable rusted hunks of metal. If that were not enough, drought plagued the region. The only clouds now were created by the dust storms and smoke that still bellowed from the fires deep within the earth following the bombings made years before.
No bombs now, no armies, no countries. Nothing left to fight for or with, except stones and dead, dry splinters of wood from trees; when trees existed. No one had seen any since the war.
Of course, they may still be trees. He envisioned huge, flourishing trees. Rolling lands far into the horizon, like he used to see hiking in the mountains on vacation. Yes, he could hope there were still trees. ..Okay, starting a novel here, let me shorten it.
He lived in a land-locked space with three other survivors. All men. All former farmers, all barely surviving in a manmade oasis. Only if an oasis meant living or dead. Only here did they have water, food and some protection from the weather and bandits that sometimes came thru. The "oasis" was simply an old fort. Very old, built sometime after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Old timbers still standing strong a testament to the craftsman of the colonials. Earthen berms surrounded it, camouflaging it from a distance. It could easily be mistaken for just another pile of artillery ridden rubble. It naturally blend in.
Of course it had been cared for by the park rangers before them. It was their home,such as it was. Someone had stocked the storerooms, they didn't know who. Bottled water, MREs, etc. Although the supplies were getting low. They all knew it was a matter of time. They got along, making sure no one got greedy, but waited for the inevitable.
One day, getting a bottle of water out of the store room, his weekly ration, he discovered it had been hiding a small brown envelope. Curious, he looked inside to find a lone seed. The package was unmarked and it was only one but he wondered. He didn't even know what kind of seed it was. Vegetable, fruit, weed, orchid?? He had no idea. Maybe he should ask the others?
No. Of course not. They were already becoming more standoffish due to the tiny remnants of supplies. They wouldn't want or care about a seed. Even if it did grow, if it could, what would one seed do? Nothing. Still..
A week passed and only a thimbleful of water remain in the bottle. If not for purification tablets there is no way it could have lasted this long, he didn't like to think about that. He removed the lid to take the last sip and remembered the seed. What the hell, he thought. Outside the men had divided the parade grounds of the fort into sections, they called it their lawns. He went to his, and in a section the others couldn't easily see he dig into the hard dust with his fingernails, dropped the seed in it, covered it with the dusty earth and poured the remaining water over it. It readily seeped into the ground and within seconds looked as it did before the had planted it.
Each day the farmer would come out to the seed. He would sit by it, he would spare a few drops each day from his water. The clean water, not the other. He even found himself talking to it! The other men noticed of course, but said nothing. He wants to pour his water on the ground and talk to it, a terrible waste, but they didnt have to watch long surely. He was disillusioned, apparently losing his mind and probably dying and soon his water would be split up between them.
They couldn't be more wrong. The farmer, although malnutritioned, was surprisingly well. Feeling better in fact that he could recall. He had purpose. Maybe not an epic quest of the midieval period, but it felt ..righteous? His seed had become a sapling. It actually grew! He still did not know if it was a tomato or a man-eating shop of horrors type and he didn't care.
To the dismay of the other men, he became more chipper, looked healthier and spoke entreatingly to them. What was happening to him? Days, weeks, months the plant grew steadily. Thriving in the earth that could not sprout a weed. On the day he told the men they were truly marveled but still, it was one plant and it was nice to see, but it couldn't save them. They didn't care for it, they went on about their way. But the farmer, he stayed, he nurtured the plant. Sheltering it in violent windstorms and dust clouds. He gave it Love.
When the supplies dwindled down to a matter of days, the other men wanted to eat the plant. Perhaps sustain them another week. The farmer stood fast and adamantly refused. They could not overtake him now, he was strong and they were weak, skin and bones.
On what would have been the last day of their lives the plant produced a flower. So beautiful and grand it seemed alien to earth. The farmer beamed with Love and pride at the most beautiful flower he had ever seen. More than he had ever dreamed. The other men on their last legs, were amazed too. A feeling of warmth spread out to them all, it was a radiance that pierced their very bones. As if they the flower and it the sun the men stretched out to it. Together they touched the flower and together they cried. Compassion, hope, charity all flooded their hearts. They were overwhelmed.
They began to heal. They desired less of water and became less thirsty. Their stomachs held the tiniest bit but were sustained and fulfilled.
One night while the farmer slept, the men carefully dug up the flower, put it in a bag and left the fort. The farmer had paid way to much attention to the flower, it had to be shared. The following morning the farmer jumped from his bed, a well slept night with wondrous dream! Clutching the last of the water left in the fort, his last few ounces in the bottle, he went out into the glorious day to see the flower.
He stood in the yard for hours, overlooking the empty hole in the ground, feeling the empty hole in his chest where his heart had been. Without strength, without will, hope or Love he fell to his knees, then to his face. The water poured from the bottle lying beside his outstretched hand, he made no move to retrieve it. He watched it. Even as his own tears blurred his vision, the water tricked from the bottle onto the damned ground. He felt the life leaving his body as he willingly gave it up, leaving only a lone tear, shaped like the seed, it trailed a line through the dust of his cheek and fell to the ground.
I am the farmer