Monday, April 2, 2012

The Quantum Farmer

In this story you will learn about the power of faith in the face of the unknown.  Sometimes we have no way to know what the future holds, but by being present now, we make room for the future to unfold in the moment.  Come read the story of a man who was willing to look silly to his neighbors and followed what he thought might have bee a silly dream that ended in a surprising way.

There once was a man who lived on the outskirts of a village not far from the far edge of the prairie, not far from the desert lands.  He lived alone and often found himself feeling lonely. He lived alone and had kept to himself most of his life, but he was thinking how life had grown lifeless and colorless. He wondered if there was more to this than just the same old thing.  As he thought about this, he had the idea that he would go into the desert and make an offering to the spirits there.  If nothing else, it would be a break in the monotony of his life. 

The next day he packed up some food and supplies to last him the walk into the wilderness and back.  Since it was a good three day walk, he had to make sure he had everything he needed. 

When the man had walked into the desert and had found a very quiet and peaceful place, he set down his sack and set about making camp.  He gathered fire wood and he began to cook some dried meat he had brought to mix into a stew in a small old pot.  The smoke from the wood mingled with the stew and a wonderful smell rose up into the golden light as the sun began to sink low in the sky.

Settling down, the man stirred his supper pot and thought about what he ought to do to ask for something new in his life.  As his hand slowly mixed the stew, he felt as though he were going into trance.  He got more and more relaxed and the light began playing tricks on him. He always like this state, because it was so close to dreaming.  His dreams were always very vivid and almost always more interesting thatn waking life. 

The stew, made from a small bit of fat and flour for thickening, brought all the parts together perfectly in a flavorful mix.  He always felt, though, that he needed something more to what he always cooked.  He realized what was missing was his companion.  He looked into the fire and asked out loud "where is my companion?  Where is she?  What must I do to have her?"  He felt funny now, as though the fire held some secret from him. The truth was, he wasn't sure why he had been alone so long. Maybe it was because he was so plain.  Perhaps it was because he had little interest in being like other people.  He thought perhaps there was something wrong with him.  He decided to make an offering up in the cliffs above him before leaving out the next day. 

Night had fallen and the man sat before the fire, one eye barely open and a boot beginning to smoke in front of the heat of the fire.  Adjusting his foot further from the flames, there shot upwards a giant plume of fire.  He gasped in surprised and moved away from the flames, but by this time, he saw a figure moving out of the fire towards him.  He was entranced with how this was happening and didn't budge an inch.  He heard a voice calling to him which was soft and soothing.  When he looked up at the form coming out of the fire he saw that it was a woman.

Startled, the man blurted "What IS this!?"  The figure moved to one side and considered him for a moment.  The figure began to speak slowly and quietly, her voice rose with each sentence saying, "Your companion waits for you at the end of a long trail.  She does not yet know its you she is waiting for, but for now, she is content to wait.  You, though, are not content to wait, and it has been your intention to meet her that will set in motion events which will bring you to your companion.   She has not come to you, dear Robert, because you ave never thought to ask. And asking is the biggest hurdle to getting you could ever imagine, for if you want it badly enough, it will surely be yours in time."
The figure was growing in size with the fire and for a brief moment, turned into a flash of pure flame before returning to her female form.  Her eyes peeked out first through the fire as he heard her words again saying "There are things you must do without question before you can know your companion.  First, you must make your offering to me in the cliffs above you, looking towards the East. Once you have done this, you must return to your home and await instructions.  Your instructions will come after you have waited sufficient time for me to know that you are serious about following this path.  You are to face east each day before your labor.  I will come to you in many disguises and you must always accept my help without denial. If you follow what I have said perfectly, you will find your companion."  The form began to fade in the cool night now as the fire burned down low. 

With a jerk, the man found himself suddenly awake amidst a night sky full of stars.  He looked at the fire and wondered over what had happened.  Was it real, or was it a dream?  If it was a dream, it was unlike any he had had before.  If it were waking, then it was unlike anything he had ever seen.  He wasn't even sure if he was awake.  He considered this all came in that odd twilight between waking and sleeping where strange visions were said to come.  He remembered the words the woman in the fire had said to him "If you follow what I have said perfectly, you will find your companion....."  He fell again into a deep sleep as he pulled the covers up around him as the cool night air settled down around him. 

The morning broke without a cloud in the sky.  The man could feel the very first ray as it streaked across the sky and sunk into his eyeballs.  His feet, cold from sticking out from beneath the blankets most of the night, were happy to be up and stomping around on the hard stone floor of the shallow canyon he was sleeping in. He took last night's pot and poured some water into it, kindled a fire, and sat blowing on fresh embers that were now heating the water enough that he could take grounds of coffee and swirl them into the water.  He remembered what the woman had said about his offering.  He had it in a bag he had set aside for the purpose.  He looked up at the cliff face above and studied the route he would need to take to place his offering.

He drank his coffee. It was surprisingly good for what it was.  He always though that a little chunk of crystalized sorghum molasses improved its taste and softened some of the bitterness.   With the tin cup in one hand and his pack laying in front of him, he pulled out the small linen bag and looked at the bundle that was his offering.  He wasn't so sure he even believed in any of this, but his brother swore by it when he was still alive, and he had also been hunting with the indians of this area and they were always leaving offerings.  There was never a hunting trip that his brother went on with the indians that resulted in no game caught. Surely they knew what they were doing. 

The offering only came after a mad scramble up some very loose rock which almost resulted in his slipping off the edge of a sheer rock face.  There were three large stones that had been pushed upwards that bore clefts where he left the offering.  He decided to just slide down instead of trying to negotiate the slippery slope down to the stone floor where his pack lay in the gathering light.  Without a word, he got his pack on and set off in the direction of home and the nearest water source which was a day's walk away. 

He thought that the reason why he liked the desert was because of how quiet it was. He liked that kind of quiet.  He felt like he could hear himself think.  And sometimes, things had a way of happening in a place like that.

It was one week  later and the man was standing looking east at the edge of the field near his home.  His arm was resting on the handles of an old plow that had been left near the field's edge and it was a good way to lean while being deep in thought.  He was looking east just as he had been told to do, not knowing what to expect.  As he stood there, he heard a man walking up the dirt road towards him.

The man started talking and would not stop. He had just been to the next two nearest towns with his horses doing some work in the fields.  He looked at the man and asked if he had any horses for his plough.  He realized that he was leaning against the old plough and was about to say that it wasn't even his when he realized the woman in the fire said she would send him people, and that he was not to deny her gifts.  The man nodded very slightly as he convinced himself that the plough would be useful to him.  He felt himself nodding but he could hear his mind sayng"You have never ploughed a field before in your are you going to plow such a field?" 

Before he knew what was happening, a large horse was brought into the field and the plough was connected to a large dark collar around the horse.  Before he could say anything, the man was ploughing the field.  He ran after the ploughman and explained that he had no money to pay him.  The man didn't stop a beat and said "You can pay me from the crop you grow, whether in produce or in coin, I care not!"  He stood there, amazed at how quickly this all got underway.  He felt a knot in the pit of his stomach; what was he going to plant that he could make grow in the field?  It seemed rediculous to admit this now; the man had already ploughed a fifth of the field and was making fast headway.  He considered in the back of his mind that perhaps the woman was sending someone to him as she had said she would.  Careful, he considered that this might just be so.  He put his faith in this knowing that if he was wrong, the worst that would happen would be that he had a field ploughed, and no one would be the wiser.

The ploughman was given a simple lunch afterwhich he completed the ploughing before mid afternoon.  The man left early to go to the store to buy some supplies.  The shop owner, a Mr. Greenwich, commented on the ploughed fields.  "What are you going to plant in that field?  You know the soil isn't good for corn, right?  Flat out goes yellow.  Corn is a deep feeder.  You are gonna need something easier on the nutrients, especially over where you are."  It was obvious to him that his customer didn't know much about planting or ploughing, so he offered him some advice.  "Lookie, here" Mr Greenwich said, "I have a man coming later today who is a seed seller.  Runs a mill but also lays aside seed.  He is supposed to be bringing me some seed and he might have what you are looking for."   After talking for a time, he paid for his supplies and left.

In the evening as he was sitting down to eat he heard a wagon pull up to his house.  There was a knock at the door and there stood a short stocky man who gave him a big smile and explained that he was on his way home and was told by the merchant that he might need some seed and he was stopping to see if he would be interested in some new seed he was trying to grow so he could increase his stock for the following year.  Seeming as though he liked the smells coming from the kitchen, the man sat down and ate with the man as he presented him with what he said was a deal of the century.  There was no end of excitement that this man couldn't seem to conjure, but he seemed good hearted enough and he listened to him all the way through.  "If you grow this seed I have out there in that rain barrel, you can have it if you promise to return to me three times the amount in seed at the end of the season."  There would be no cost to him for the seed.  Here it was getting interesting.  This plant, which he would not need the seed at all, would provide him with fiber which people would turn into clothing.  The man suggested that if the flax blight continued and his crop was not hit, he might have a much more precious crop by the end of the year.  It was clear that this man liked to wheel and deal, and selling seed direct while going around Mr. Greenwich was yet another example.  After a quick meal, the barrel was left in the yard by his old shack. 

It seemed crazy.  He was not a farmer.  He did not know anything about how to grow flax.  He didn't even know who he was going to sell the flax to.  He had no idea how he would harvest it.  It all seemed a little crazy.  Still, a voice within him said "Just try."

Over the course of the summer months, the man had the crop of flax planted.  The rain came only twelve hours after the flax had been planted and the flax was already sprouting within a week.  It grew on its own with little help from the man and soon the field was like a field of grass.  He went off to work wondering now how he would harvest this crop.  Locals who found out he was growing flax chuckled; the best crops were the ones that grew produce.  Flax was a difficult plant to get anything to yield from it.  It took years from harvest to loom for flax to yield anything useful.  Most of his neighbors kept their opinions to themselves, but it was clear they thought the man was on a fools errand.  As he lay in bed at night he thought to himself "What if I am?  What is the worst that could happen? My neighbors thing I am some kind of fool, that I am judged by them for something so silly as what I choose to plant?"  he decided then and there that he could not waste his time with what his neighbors were thinking about.  Besides, the field of flax was not tinged with a beautiful blue and had a light aroma that he liked.  It was a lot like how he was going to think about the folly of growing such a crop; it would be a scent he could barely notice.

As the season wore on, news spread about a blight that was two years in the making that was wiping out entire crops of flax.  This worried him. He had done all this work and now his fields could be wiped out!  That old seed seller! As he thought about this, though, he realized he wasn't out anything and had in fact not done any work.  He had leaned against a plow that had sat like a decoration at the edge of the field.  He gritted his teeth and went on, hoping against hope that everything would unfold as it should.

TO be continued.... 

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