Needed an excuse to sit in the sun,
put my feet up and breathe.
Opened an envelope of lettuce seed buds I’d saved last fall.
Started splitting them with my thumb nail,
pulling out the tiny white tufts,
each with a lettuce seed at the end of its parachute,
letting them fall into another envelope.
Two days to a full moon,
I’d plant some of those that afternoon.
Let the lunar pull draw moisture from the earth, into their protective casing,
awakening the strands of DNA tucked inside.
Each seed incredibly unique,
yet destined to be only a head of lettuce,
if it could overcome all the random hurdles
that stand between seed and plant.
Had I saved the seed or tossed the spent plant into the compost heap?
Had the envelope been kept dry,
so the seeds heads didn’t rot?
Had I found that half hour to sit there
and open the pods?
Would I choose this seed to plant?
And remember to water it and tend it?
All of this just for a head of lettuce!
What about the head of human sitting there, thinking these thoughts?
What series of accidents had to happen
from the beginning of time,
for this unique combination of DNA that is me
What tiny variation
in the long, winding trail that runs from me
back to primordial mud
would have doomed me to be something/someone completely different?
I could have been a right-wing conservative
with just one flicker of a difference,
different talents or intellect
different choices made by any one of hundreds of thousands of ancestors.
I am too random to matter.
I am too remarkable not to!
A sudden gust of wind tore the envelope of seeds from my hand!
The way I’d popped it open,
made it into a kite.
Soaring over my garden,
a few seeds tumbled out onto that fertile soil.
I would probably end up pulling them as weeds
a weed is just a plant
growing where someone decides
it doesn’t belong.
The packet continued its unscheduled flight
over our fence to my neighbor’s yard.
Perhaps they discovered
a head of red leaf lettuce
in the corner of their yard
I don’t know where
the rest of my seeds ended up.
There could have bern red leaf lettuce
springing up everywhere
from here to San Ysidro,
Imagine some silently slipping past
the border patrol into Tijuana!
It’s all just a crap shoot, isn’t it?
– for lettuce and for us…
We seem too random to matter.
We are so remarkable not to.