Four (?) years ago — that sounds long, maybe it’s three — I planted two or three strawberry plants in the tiny square of dirt I have as a garden.  The first year there were only five berries or so, and I had also planted peas and had a couple of pods.  That winter everything lay under a four-foot bank of ice that was compacted with gravel and repeatedly shoved against the side of the building by the snowplows.  But the strawberries came back.  There were more plants; they had put out runners.  This kept happening.  They always survive, and each year there are more plants and each plant is bigger, or let’s say the largest plant is always bigger than the previous year’s champion.  This year there were “lots of berries” by the poignant standards of the years before.  Then the building needed a coat of paint, and even though he was careful the painter spattered most of the plants with white.  A couple of days later, all the berries were gone, as if they’d been sucked through their stems by something underground.  So there was nothing for me.  I didn’t really want fruit with paint on it, but something must have.  Just this past week, though, another berry grew apparently out of nowhere and turned red at the right time for me to see it and pick and eat it before anything else could.  So that is the extent of the people food I’ve grown for myself this year, unless I get some coriander seeds.  I love cilantro, but I didn’t get around to picking any of it before it shot up like a tree and blossomed, and I figured it might not be any good after that.

The end.

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