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 thumbnail
pulling out the tiny white tufts
each lettuce seed clinging to a feathery parachute
floating into another envelope.

Two days to a full moon,
I’ll plant some of these this 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
and yet destined to be only a head of lettuce
if it can 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 seed heads didn’t rot?
Had I found this half-hour to sit here and open the pods?
Will 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 here, thinking these thoughts?
What series of random accidents had to happen
from the beginning of time
for this unique combination of DNA that is me, to exist?
What tiny variation in the long, winding trail
that runs from me back to primordial mud,
would have doomed me to be something or someone completely different?
I could have been a conservative!

with just one flicker of a difference…
different parents,
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 tears the envelope of seeds from my hand
The way I had propped it open had made it into a kite
Soaring over my garden, a few seeds tumble out onto that fertile soil.
I will probably end up pulling them as weeds.

The packet continues its unscheduled flight
over our fence and into our neighbor’s yard.
Perhaps they will discover a head of red leaf lettuce
in the corner of their yard come June.

I don’t know where the rest of my seeds ended up.
There could be red leaf lettuce
springing up everywhere from here to San Ysidro.

I can just imagine some silently slipping past the border patrol
into Tijuana!

It’s all just a crapshoot, isn’t it,
– for lettuce and for us…

We seem too random to matter.
And yet, we are too remarkable not to.