The earth revolves around the sun at 108,000 kilometers per hour
The sun orbits the milky way at a velocity of 800,000 kilometers per hour.
The galaxy hurls itself at a rate of 2,000,000 kilometers per hour across the ever expanding fabric of space.
Give or take.
Any way you look at it, It’s pretty amazing that more of us don’t have whiplash.
Also, we call our planet “planet earth,” but there’s significantly more water than rock. Water: 70%. Rock: 30%.
Considering the speed with which we travel, and the bumpy ride, it’s also astonishing that we don’t spill, splash, or drip.
When I was a cocktail waitress, it was common practice to place a stirrer across the rim of a full martini glass. I was taught that if that fine piece of plastic technology lay just so, the precious liquid in the glass wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. The spirits would settle in and embrace whatever garnish they were sleeping with that night.
I don’t know if it worked. I wasn’t a very good cocktail waitress. I lack in the balance department.
I met a farmer at an ice cream parlor. North 5th Street. Phoenix, Arizona. I was looking for coffee. I found coffee. And then I was looking for something else. Though I couldn’t tell you what it was.
I didn’t know he was a farmer until we started talking. I thought he was a misplaced bearded bohemian who landed in the middle of the desert. But he was a farmer, twenty years experience even though he looked nineteen. He was far from water, one tool of the trade. He was, however, surrounded by lots of dirt.
He offered a sample flavor. Vanilla. What a subtle and divine flavor to try to capture. This was fresh and clean.
“It’s cold where I live,” I said.
“I follow the sun.”
Of course he does. He’s a farmer. Farmers need sun.
“What’re you doing here,” I asked, meaning the ice cream parlor in particular, Phoenix in general.
“I don’t know,” he answered and handed me another sample. Cinnamon. “I like to see people enjoy what I grow. Farm to table”
I wanted to tell him how sometimes I wish I was an earthworm. That I could find no greater joy than knowing exactly what one was born to do and then doing it. Though, even earthworms crave the sunlight on their backs after a beautiful spring rain, despite the grave risks.
“I’m in Phoenix for two days. What should I do while I’m here?”
“Climb the mountain, ride a bike, see live music. There’s a place next door.”
“If I go, will go you come with me?”
He smiled and handed me his card. Farmer Pete is what it said. It had a cartoon drawing of a happy bearded bohemian holding a carrot. The biggest difference between the cartoon farmer and the live version was that one of them smiled and winked in a carefree manner. The other was soft-spoken and dead serious.
A few minutes later, strolling down Garfield, a guy on a bike wobbled by.
“We don’t get many pretty girls like you ’round here,” he said, slowing down.
To which I sighed, cocked my head, and said, “I bet you say that to all the girls.”
He giggled through his toothless grin. “Sure do.”
I lay down on the sidewalk to try to take a picture and a lady whose clothes matched the color of her car rolled down her window.
“Just taking a picture,” I said.
She moved on, watching me through her rear view mirror.
I just read right now that humans are 50 – 75% water.
We’re all just a bunch of big, sloppy puddles sloshing around. Riding bikes. Driving cars. Taking pictures. Drinking beer.
At 9 p.m. I found myself walking to the Lost Leaf to hear whatever band was playing. I didn’t know if the farmer would show. I didn’t care. He had planted a seed. That’s what farmers do. They plant seeds. So, I sat at the bar and watched a not terrible band play angry music in bad wigs. I drank a beer. I watched a baby hipster hatch. Some guy sitting next to me opened up about bad food in Phoenix and nano-technology. He was involved in building computers smaller than we can imagine that hold more information than we think possible.
Kind of like seeds.
I asked him what I should do the following day.
“Climb the mountain,” he said.
The farmer had already planted the idea. The band, like a smelly, but useful fertilizer fed it, and the frustrated foodie nano-technologist watered it.
On Thursday morning, in my skirt and sneakers, hauling a tote bag full of unnecessary crap, I climbed that mountain.
I struggled up the weather-beaten rocks, past the water hoarding succulents. I walked up that steep, rocky hill, and then I walked back down.
I did a bunch of other stuff, too. I went to the Heard Museum. They let me in for free. I saw a bad art house flick, eavesdropped on a conversation between two strangers. And when I got back to the house I was staying at, an airbnb joint, my hostess was attempting to blow-dry her hair.
I stepped in. Squeezed the water out of her wet roots, dried it with a blow dryer and smoothed out the residual moisture with a flat-iron.
We shared stories while I worked. Two puddles helping each other out.
I called my neighbor today and told him I was having a hard time writing this blog. I told him I wanted to say something about the farmer and how there’s much more water on this planet than land. And that I wanted to refer to the seeds we plant, all of us, in each others’ lives and how some days I wish I was an earthworm.
“Today would be a bad day to be an earthworm,” he responded without much of a pause. “Spring is next week and the robins are on the hunt.”
“It’s all part of the cycle, friend.” I said. “All part of the cycle.”
I should’ve asked him why he thinks we call ourselves earthlings, as does every fictional alien we encounter in movies, books, and on t.v.
There has to be a more accurate description of what we are. Microbiome transport. Dancing puddles. Wishing wells…
Something like that.