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Movie lover. Growing Capoeirista. Space enthusiast. Dedicated craftsman. And best of all, homegrown Los Angeles native. Wait, how in the hell did I end up in China!?
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I knew an old man that used to garden. He started with a tiny plot of land and single seed, and overtime the entire space blossomed into a beautiful corner of the world, ripe with fresh fruits and vegetables, the most colorful variety of flowers you’d ever seen, and dozens of intoxicating aromas that no insect could resist.
He was very proud of his work, too. After all, it felt like his new lease on life. He’d bought the supplies, dug the holes, planted the seeds, and fed his gorgeous ‘little babies’, as he called them, rich soil, spring water—he never used tap or purified—and made sure they received an abundance of natural sunshine everyday.
He’d even talk to them in a positive tone so that they’d grow to their full potential. Some of his family, friends, and neighbors thought he was foolish for investing so much of his time and energy into a boring hobby, and thought he should dedicate his skills to more exciting endeavors, but he was an extremely proud man that never ceased an opportunity to show off his years long project.
One morning, however, the man had suddenly fallen ill.
The day had started like any other. He walked in his backyard with his bucket of water, bag of ingredient rich dirt, a radio player, and a smile so big it could be seen from space.
But his garden—his treasured masterpiece, had completely withered away. His fruits, rotten, its soil dried, and the once bright green and blossoming stalks that had stood the test of time were an ugly brown and chipping away. Every bit of the beautiful foundation he’d laid years ago was no more.
What could have caused such chaos?Turns out, the fruits of his labor had been destroyed by sheer recklessness—a wrong seed he accidentally planted that would expand, steal all of the soil’s nutrients, and leave nothing behind for other plants to feast upon until they suffered and died.
Afterwards, the man fell into a deep depression; that garden meant the world to him, after all. Each day his body ached. His thoughts were filled with constant regrets. He blamed himself for not realizing, in the moment, the grand mistake he had made. And all of this immense stress—the sudden change of his goals and the painstaking lost of something extraordinary he had built over the years—led the man down a spiral path of loneliness and misery of which he felt there was no escape.
Weeks passed, and during that time the man had removed all remnants of his dying plants. And although stricken with grief, he still took time out of each day to go outside with his bucket of water, bag of dirt, and radio player—it was the motions of it all he just needed to attend to. He’d spread the soil around evenly, sprinkle it with just enough water, sit on his bench, and stare at his plot as it bathed in sunlight.
He’d wait. Watching, hoping, praying for anything to happen. He fantasized his entire garden growing back exactly the way it was; then he’d get that spark that could jumpstart his life again.
But, he knew it’d never happen. Hell, he did everything but plant new seeds anyway. He was getting too old, and in the end, the man knew even if he completely started over, the feeling he experienced growing, nurturing, and cultivating something from scratch just wouldn’t be the same. He had to accept his new reality—that what once was, was now just a beautiful memory.
More weeks passed, and on one cloudy afternoon, after arriving home from the supermarket, the man stumbled into his backyard and found an unexpected visitor. In the middle of his plot sprang a fresh, healthy, green, leafy stalk tipped with a yet-to-bloom flower.
The man was taken back by what he saw. He immediately ran over and studied it closely. He caressed it, listened to it, sniffed it like a curious cat. He checked for all the right signs.
“But how could this be?,” he thought. Upon further examination, he found an answer: This foreign stalk was the offspring of the same seed that tore threw his garden. It must have grown from a seed it left behind, one that the man must not have seen, and thus, failed to remove.
The man sat for awhile. As humbled as the new arrival made him feel, he didn’t know what to do with it. On one hand, he slightly welcomed the change—a potential starting point for breeding another gorgeous garden. On the other, he felt an overwhelming urge to snip it out of existence, having, after all, come from the circumstance that wrecked his previous creation.
He thought, pacing back and forth, before he came to a final decision: He wanted it gone. And so the man walked into the house, grabbed a pair of scissors, and made his way back towards the door.
Suddenly, as fate would have it, an onset of rain slammed down across the city, followed by a roar of thunder so loud it shook the cars parked on the road nearby.
He cursed up a storm like never before. For him, that wrongly planted seed was still doing everything it could—and that meant, even, somehow controlling the weather—to thrive from the grave. “Tomorrow,” he said, “Ill get to you.”
And so tomorrow came. On this day, an eeriness filled the air, but as strange as it felt, it was completely overshadowed by the most awe-inspiring weather he had ever seen—much like an artist had painted the sky.
The man grabbed his scissors, stepped outside, arrived at his plot, and much to his surprise, that tiny stalk had not only tripled in size, but had unraveled to produce the most dazzling flower God had ever created.
He froze, eyes wide, lungs filled with air. Suddenly, in that instant, the powerful clench of his teeth that, up until recently, gave him the most intense headaches and jaw pain he’d ever known, loosened its hold, and the man smiled for the first time, in a long time.
In that instant, the man, captivated by the plant’s budding innocence and grandeur beauty, realized a harsh truth: He’d never be able to recreate the beautiful moment that once was, no matter how strongly he wanted relive it. And even as he blamed this unforeseen circumstance for shattering his world, out of the chaos arose a new opportunity—a new chance to start again.
The man decided then that there was no other option but to take care of this new ‘friend’—without regrets, without complaining, but providing it with the best love, care, and nourishment it needed to develop. That, he understood, was his renewed purpose, whether he wished for it or not.
Over the next months, the man had added more plants to his garden—a different variety that could sustain themselves better—and though his groove hadn’t fully returned, he was at peace knowing that he was making the effort to create another beautiful moment. Patience, he understood, really is the biggest virtue.
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