a vestige of thought...
Friday, October 28, 2005
Oatmeal for Breakfast, Part I
Long ago in a land where many people died but not many people lived, a young man kept a house with his young wife. They lived in a small shack of rotting, moss covered logs in the midst of a tangle of steamy, green forest. Indeed, the house would have blended seamlessly with its surroundings were it not for the small garden that encircled it. The house faced the lonely road that passed through the dark forest, leading to the town on the other side. The few courageous wayfarers who dared brave the forest’s mysteries often stopped to ponder this garden and the youthful couple that tended it day in and day out. Their one crop, which grew year round, was oats.
Each morning the young woman would pass through the garden, gently removing impurities from the plants and pulling up weeds. In the afternoon, the young man would walk up and down the rows, sprinkling around them a unique fertilizer, which, no doubt, accounted for the yearlong growth. The couple, who had no offspring and kept no animals, treated each stalk as they would their own child. In the evenings the two could be heard singing softly to their beloved oats, as if their song would cause the sun rise again the next morning and coax the mist that hung heavily throughout the forest to provide nourishing water without rain.
It was not uncommon for the couple to shelter travelers for the night, as it was a two day journey from one side of the forest to the other. There was an extra bed in one corner of the cabin for the purpose, and no voyager had ever arrived to find the bed not warmed and ready for heir coming. There was always a kettle of hot water on the stove and a pot of oatmeal bubbling over the fire. The woman once said that the water was for tea to warm a person’s hands and face, and the oatmeal to warm their heart and soul.