Friday, January 16, 2015

An Open Letter to the Carrots of 928 Kentucky St.

Dear Sirs and Madames,

You guys are like coffees paid for by strangers. You have waited for me.

I did not plant you. I did not witness the painstaking process of your germination, the suspense.

I am new in this city. I feel lunky, awkward, out of place. Sometimes, my clothes feel all wrong. I remember selecting them, only what I could carry, in the warmth and comfort of my dark cabin heated by woodsmoke. A couple gray shirts, a green one with long sleeves. Simple, practical. I was safe and warm and unobserved. There in that small town, my identity was my character, my laugh, the work I do, the friendship I offer.

Now all of that is gone and I feel small and quiet among all of the flamboyance, fabulousness, talent, grit of this city. I sip my gin and tonic, just one, in the dark blue and red neon lighting and watch as fabulous dancers spin each other, skirts blazing, top-knots just-so, feet light. I am mesmerized and humbled. 'I'm a pretty good dancer,' I think, silently and unsmilingly.

Your first harvest was today, carrots. Yeah, in the bucket of greens from thinning, which will feed me and my friends (maybe as chimichurri or a parboiled sesame-dressed salad.) None of us have any money right now. But moreover in the sun on my back, the hunching over and the carefulness. Combing, delicately selecting the strongest plants, giving them space to grow by removing all the others between. The leaves all tangled and me untangling them. Two inches spacing, the seed packets say. Be merciless, they say. The sun on my back feels like it always does. The unwavering spindly form of these little daucus carotas is as it always is. The earthy smell, the carotene essence behind the sweetness is familiar and complete. The dirt sticks to my hands and it rushes back to me, whatever "it" is.

I'm back. In a small way, I feel like myself again. So thank you.

Thank you for being here, for waiting, for reminding me.

I look forward to our continued friendship. May the sun also be on your back, may the winds tousle your fingery fronds, may your orange roots grow bulbous, juicy, and sweet.

I love you.


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