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affair with the ground

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Plants are made from the marriage of an adult plant to the earth. People, meanwhile, are made in marriage between adult people. However, each plant and person must court the earth for sustenance: life tomorrow is a separate question from life today.

Once there was a man who wanted to be happy, and so he buried a seed of joy in his garden. The seed courted the earth successfully and bloomed, casting its luxurious shade over his abode. But while the seed of joy deepened its partnership with the earth, the earth grew enamored of the seed and cast aside thoughts of other lovers, and entered into a marriage with the seed that would admit no other bonds.

And so the man was happy and lived contentedly, and he lived as a child by the generosity of others, in apology for the limitations of his success; but as an adult in his love of the earth. For the canopy that sprouted up from where the seed was buried was vast, and he tended it often; and the earth did not begrudge his love for it.

He had a daughter, an adult woman passing marriageable age, and his daughter courted a neighbor of his, a man who had a skill in convincing fields to marry with dates and yams. Indeed, more than courted him, though he would not own to his love for her; they married in secret and pretended in front of others that they felt nothing for each other.

A man who is false in one activity will come to be known as false in all. The faith of the earth in the neighbor weakened, and dates and yams refused to grow. Youths scraped at trees to eat and trade with their bark, for trees respond to betrayal slowly; and have in any case a willingness to consider people as individuals, and moreover a fondness for children.

Eventually the neighbor gave up on dates and yams, and planted cacao, rich and sweet, to court other people for his sustenance. Cacao is an undiscriminating plant, though fussy; it demands pampering, but cares little for others, and thus for others’ faults.

But the daughter learned that he had come by the cacao by unfaithfulness, and was even then paying out the penance for the same; for the marriage he had made with the parent of the cacao was undeniable and could not be hidden: and at this final indignity, his secret marriage to her that had stayed fast for many years crumbled and was lost.

Thus did the false seed grow joy and the true seed only bitterness.