I grew up reading Laura Ingalls, and spent lazy summers on my grandparent’s farm as a teenager. But none of that could prepare me for a Texas summer on five acres in the country, while raising my own young family. We have fruit trees (apple, peach, nectarine, plum, and pear). Goats. Rabbits. Two cats. One dog. A small vegetable garden. Spiders. Crickets. Grasshoppers. Scorpions. And heat. Lots of heat.
In fact, I should be at home right now, peeling nectarines and canning them in the mason jars I bought last week. Does anyone have a good recipe for plum jam? I tried to make some and it’s really yummy, but it failed to set. Makes a great plum sauce though.
Nature has a way of bringing out the humanity in me. And to be completely honest, it makes me uncomfortable. I have to confront my inadequacies, my deeper thoughts, my own selfishness. I mean, I didn’t really want to learn the art of home canning right now. I would rather the fruit trees ripen next month. Then I’ll be ready. But nature doesn’t work around humanity, try as we might to bend it.
So c’mon, take a walk through the country with me. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open… we might see a few zombies and cyborgs. All the open space makes them easier to spot.
There… do you see it? Crouching down behind the peach tree. Look a little lower, you’ll see blood dripping from its teeth. Yes, that’s it. A zombie. It’s been waiting for me all afternoon, watching me sweep the front porch. Careful, don’t make eye contact. It can sense weakness in your eyes. And then it’ll attack. This happened to some neighbors before we moved out here. A poor woman who lost her husband turned to liquor to ease her sadness, and then one drunken night her new lover murdered her. Keep your eyes down, I say.
Do you hear that clicking sound? Wait – stop walking for a minute. There… do you hear it? If you look toward the shed at night, you can see its lights. A cyborg. It’s been studying me for days. Go ahead – take a look. Eye contact won’t make any difference. But it hacked into my electronics, so be careful if you need to use the computer, listen to the radio, or watch the evening news. I think it even figured out how to plant propaganda in my daily newspaper. It’s trying to wear me down. I mean, look at it! All shiny and sleek. Just clicking away, up there on the roof. Don’t fall for the trick, though. Perfection doesn’t exist.
Even the best plum trees yield a few worms.
(This is part two of a four-part series. Stay tuned…)