Haven't seen a monkey around these parts for months now; much of the time it's almost as though the thieves have slipped my mind, but I guess the planter part of me is always on watch, because the other morning when I was behind the house selecting a net to put over the new lettuce that one of the crows had developed a taste for, I glanced out back with an instinctual feeling and saw an elderly female monkey limping up the road alone (not a screech for miles around, so she wasn't a scout; anyway, scouts don't limp). She stopped a moment to gaze into my early garden, where, thanks to careful planning, nothing was growing that monkeys like.
She stayed hunkered there in the road, resting and engaging in some form of monkey contemplation, then began limping off toward the property across the way, where the pickings were even slimmer-- zero, to be precise. Looked like she had a bad hip, maybe age, like me; maybe sciatica like me. Her many kids were all gone off on their own; she too was an empty nester. As to the whereabouts of all her former 'husbands,' Who the hell knows? she'd likely respond, if anyone cared enough to ask.
As she hobbled away, she paused and turned to look back at my garden once more, and it seemed to someplace in my heart that she was feeling a monkey version of nostalgia, perhaps wistfully recalling all the fine dining she used to enjoy in her golden years as a wandering young mountain beauty in one of the elite troupes that patronized my establishment in those days.
The longer she gazed, the more she seemed to be wondering what had happened to all those yesterdays-- so far gone, yet so immediate, for the past has its own gravity-- in her case, of savory summer days with their tender onions and crisp cucumbers, their crunchy potatoes and other monkey delicacies I used to have on the menu at my Fresh Organic Simian Cuisine Emporium, where every ape who was anybody used to hang out with wild abandon in the golden light that lit the skies when she was a girl...
Was she visiting once more the dining palace of her memories that she had come all this way alone to behold before she-- not retired, but maybe there's an Old Monkeys' Tree somewhere that they go to, way up in the woods there. I've never seen such a place, but as any animal expert will tell you, there's an infinity of things we do not know about monkeys, which I can back up with 20 years of personal experience.
As we stood there looking at each other for a powerful moment, there was no way I could tell her that things had changed because of monkeys like her, that now I only grow stuff that the beasts won't touch, though "beasts" may be politically incorrect these days, I don't know; humans are getting pretty fussy about the old ways, and are whipping up respect for everybody, but anyway, given the nature of the moment I felt I had to be nice and didn't think more than once about throwing a rock, even though respect is something monkeys couldn't care less about - it's always been a power thing with them: You do this or I bite you - and though she appeared to be leaving all that behind as she entered elderhood, you can never be sure; the future, too, has its own gravity...
Then she turned away and we both limped off into the rest of our lives.