Saturday, February 21, 2004



When I went out this morning to look in vain for a tiny bolt I hadn't even known existed, that had fallen off and thereby totally disabled the power saw I'd snapped up at a bargain price only a couple of months ago, which is what I get for going anywhere near cheap power tools but when will I ever learn, I noticed on my way back from pointlessly scanning the minutiae among the grass and weeds and sawdust in search of a tiny piece of metal that the sawblade had no doubt propelled halfway down the mountain (and that also no doubt is unique and cannot be replaced from any source in this otherwise satisfactory country), that the shiitake had quietly emerged during the night.

But only partly emerged: were they resting, or had they simply been sussing the overall scenario like a tribe of groundhogs, and gone back into hibernation for who knows how long? This is the kind of sucker question I would have asked back in my days of naivete, when I was the mark who looked forward, I was the sucker who dreamed of bigger mushrooms, I was the optimist who suffered from chronic osteocraniosis brought on by the ability to think at length.

Now, however, without hesitation I began to harvest the tiny buds and still small (10-15cm) fruitings. Note how the phrase "without hesitation" goes almost unnoticed, yet transcends the entire sentence and all that follows, just as it dominated my shiitake considerations at that decisive moment, that turning point in my gardening cognition. In my pilot consciousness I realized (with a very tiny and pointless pang of homo sapiens-ish regret) that evolution is more than just a two-way street, that in fact it's an omnilane expressway traveling in all directions at all times, that I was beginning to think like a monkey, and that it was unsettlingly familiar.

Somewhere in my wilds I had returned like the prodigal ape to the font of ancient knowledge that to get the fruits of my agrarian labors I must have the morals of a simian. Take it NOW. Wait sapiensically for it to grow a bit and the monkeys won't wait, not even a second thought, they'll take it before any other monkey can get it, and that includes me. I'm relearning fast; soon I'll have the makings of an entire corporate mindset.

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