Now I’ve come, with a backpack full of crackers, having told my parents I was at a friend’s house, to see how much nighttime I can take in. I stand, let the blue-black come for me, and it’s quiet, once the birds sound off: I hear trees creaking, branches cracking, evening animals I don’t know the names of emerge from their daylight slumbers.
Grateful to Troy Palmer and everyone at Little Fiction/Big Truths for publishing this piece; the issue is chock-a-block full of incredible work, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Rosalie stood still, caught her breath. The sky continued to bruise dark. Henry had told her that frogs were signs of good environments. That they died off fast when the air quality was bad. He’d told her to bring one back in a container for him to experiment on.
I’m so, so grateful to the editors for picking this up.
Sequoias, black cherry in your backyard, a park down the street flush with chestnut and silver maple, a magnificent sycamore outside your office window—trees will outlive us all, and suddenly granting them cognizance, some inner life, is a frightening prospect. You think of the branches you ripped from trees and the leaves plucked out for fun, all the initials you carved, all the hurt, all of it.
A thing evolves, typically adjacent to other things—coevolution. So a plant, for example, might evolve its fruit to be eaten a certain way by a certain species in order to ensure its seeds are properly dispersed. But in the case of evolutionary anachronism, one of the parts of this relationship dies off. And yet, the plant’s relic behavior remains, visible to us, pumping away like a still-warm, body-less heart.
But we just don’t know—can’t know, can we?—the full implications: what it is they whisper to one another, this throbbing message sent in nanoseconds, sent near the speed of light, means, or how it’s interpreted by a world we’re convinced we’re above.
See? There is a story here you know. This place, this ecosystem, these bears, the salmon, and you. They’re unable to escape the pull of home, of passing something down. You thought, for a long while, that you could escape, that none of it mattered, where you came from.
Across the street, a neighbor comes out and makes a loud phone call to animal control. They’re afraid, can’t fathom this monster so close to their house and family. They wave their arms wildly, try to shoo the bird away. They don’t know what to make of this carnage.
You can Read part 1 (the Common Fig) here, and follow along with the series here.