Tuesday, October 4, 2016


I buried myself to live like a potato. You won’t believe the things I saw.
And yes, I saw. Potatoes do have eyes, you know. Eyes that turn into living stalks that squirm through the dirt, pierce the surface and then bifurcate into a wild rash of leaves, soaking up the sun and turning its energy into French fries in potentia.

What is there for a potato to see, you might ask?


Piles of dirt and piles of potatoes, for example, look an awful lot alike. There’s something to be learned there I’m sure. We often resemble the media in which we grow.

And though potatoes are not known for their noses, I used mine – a sense humans only rely on when they’re eating or snorting up someone else’s fart. Dirt, amazingly, smells like dirt. The leaves falling off the aspens and the cottonwoods are amazingly leaf-like.

And there are ants. Millions of ants. Making little tunnels all through the garden, some past my tubers, some past my rhizomes. They never seem to bother me, which is good, because I’m defenseless. I’m a potato, remember.

And in the little Idaho garden I buried myself in – to live as a potato, you have to be buried in Idaho – there is plenty to see besides the dirt.

There are dogs. Two of them. Which I could see through the eye stalks I cleverly grew into leaves. They’d sneak into the garden, either going under the chicken wire at one spot, or just through the gap in the wire at another. To them it’s a jungle, with carrot tops and my own leaves as the floor, the raspberry canes and tomatoes as the canopy.

They’re after the squirrel. The squirrel who walks on the fence and makes the loose slats fall and almost flatten the dogs.

We have a different perspective. We dogs. We ants. We squirrels. We spuds. The human world is vast, and we pity them for we think they don’t see any of what’s going on, though the humans will come out and remove weeds, or pick the raspberries, turning over leaf after leaf so not one ripe berry is missed. Or turning over the leaves of all the plants, looking for sap-sucking insects. So maybe they see more than we suspect. What do we know? We’re mostly potatoes.

It’s easy to feel superior, however. We can turn sunlight into starch. Doesn’t matter than humans can turn starch into energy, reversing our labor as if it meant nothing to them than mitochondrial fire. They’re useless, that way. Bodies chugging along and they don’t even pay attention to them, especially when they’re inside away from the cheap showiness of nature writing books, doing homework, teaching others online, or uselessly wasting their five senses by creating sounds and pictures and smells and motion pictures within their own heads. That many times, they write on paper or on their computers, so they can transfer those images into the minds of other humans.

They are to pity.

Because they’re not buried in the earth. Like a potato.

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