Having gently retrieved a seed from the packet fetched inside the left pocket of her strawberry-printed apron, oversized bow drooping, almost untied, in the back, the woman folded the top to prevent spillage and returned the pouch to its hiding place.
“This one is just for you. Be very careful not to drop it.”
As though riding a chariot on the wisps of a gentle May breeze, her words galloped to my ears as I sat perched on my favorite boulder-turned-chair facing Bear Lake.
The young child toddled behind his mother; at least I suspected she was his mother, given the same fairness of complexion and auburn tresses, his erupting in curls which danced in tickle above his shoulders; hers pulled tightly in a knot behind her head.
A unique combination of sun and rain enveloped the three of us that day, though I a stranger to the two. The sun casting its wares from the heavens made the sprinkles glisten, as though diamonds, as they fell from the sky.
Having read the work twice before, yet still enraptured, I strummed through the pages of "A Farewell to Arms."
“Perhaps I will start in the middle this time,” I thought, eyes still half wandering to the mother and her child.
Heeding Mother’s advice, the lad cradled the treasure, what I supposed to be pea-sized, in chubby palms-up cupped hands. Though neither his age nor his gender would bring such an outcome to pass, he transported the embryo of his stewardship as though he himself was mother with child.
Watching from my makeshift chair, mist from the stirring lake mixed with the climate’s perspiration caused beads of moisture to drip from my chin.
I must protect my treasure and so reached for the freshly pressed white handkerchief in my back pocket and absorbed the wetness.
Mother and son made their way toward a row of garden containers, oblong, square, wooden, plastic hued in testimony to previous plantings: red and white petunias, purple pansies, yellow daisies. The line of flowers formed a colorful boundary to the frontage of the property and separated the waters from the invading their sandaled feet.
A round, not yet filled with sprouts, barrel at the end of the row was chosen at their destination, its height nearly to the young lad’s head. I presumed the crate already filled with soil for I did not witness signs of carting that necessity along.
“What potential lies in the seed they would plant? Is it destined to become a flower like its neighbors, blooming for a season, or was it perhaps a perennial and thus the reason for choosing the largest container?” My thoughts skipped to embrace the possibilities of purpose.
“What if the child should mishap, lose his cargo unwillingly to the ground below? Would the land prove merciful or unyielding to its intent to produce something bigger than itself, something other than what it was now, or would its destiny be forever abandoned, a result of the hands of its steward?”
“As with other life forms, does the potential for good and evil reside within the seed. Are the forces forever at war, each desiring victory? Might the ultimate purpose be thwarted if maliciousness were to tangle itself in its roots? What if the failure to thrive proves contradiction to its destiny? Where would its nourishment derive?”
“And what about the boy? Might demons, seeking opportunity to consummate their mission spread venom, like snakes, and cause him to succumb to the despair of generations previous. In acquiescence, could the clandestine plague inherent in his seed snuff out his brilliant potential through an act of the will?”
Yes, I pondered these thoughts as I watched the boy and his mother in their tasks and experienced a sense of grief when imagining that a seed created to produce a work of beauty may be overcome by a torment also within its bounds, cutting short perennial blooms.
As my eyes scanned the already-known plot and context of the voluminous Farewell which rested on my lap, I wondered if its author, young himself at the time, realized that the impact of his words, the story pictures he created, would live on for generations.
“Go well, young lad, go well.” Chubby hands now perched above the barrel, ready to release cargo into just the right spot in the awaiting soil, my whispered words, spoken as a blessed proclamation of destiny, rode the messenger of the May breeze.
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