national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2011
Honorable Mention in Nonfiction

I Will Send You This

Zachary Green  • 
Columbia College Chicago

after Brian Mornar’s Three American Letters

 

 En Route to Farm
California
Aug. 9, 2010

Antonia,

It’s been a seven-hour bus ride but still sense you here. Pleasure to have met you at Anna’s. So unlikely, this L.A. Six days in a car, with you and Devin, Lukas, Vincent but caught in your traffic. I’m ashamed at my pursuits, subtle and to you, unaware. I felt like a sand-swallower on Venice Beach, next to you. There was the picture of the boy holding a crab on the pier, but no pictures of us. I knew full well our meeting would be a passing, like a stammer and my bad German. I do not do well with quiet. How I loved your quiet. You will hear from me, from the farm.

My best,
Zachary

 

Frey Farm
Redwood Valley, CA
Aug. 10, 2010

Antonia,

Since I left L.A. I have been in the company of the Frey family. So much linen. So many feet bared. I cannot will myself to swim the pond naked. I cannot will myself to tell you. The sun-gold tomatoes. Each day, a lemon cucumber. The beets have spoiled but each wheel of cheese has shed the mould jacket. A cow is not a friend but the ones with horns. A steer has a magnetism; calls in the rest of the cattle with waves. Buttercup hasn’t kicked me while milking yet, but I did get sprayed by the hand of Luke. How do you say this in your tongue? How do I tell it. Still, quiet. I haven’t seen anyone not smile. I will send you this good soil.

My best,
Zachary

 

 Aug. 11, 2010

Antonia,

I held the grains to sprout. Tip the bucket and let drain, and drain, and let. When ready, I feed the chickens. I give them the compost, consequently give them the earth. I got the eggs. 41 yesterday and no blue eggs. The chicks are happy when watered. I water and water the horse, the cows though I still will not touch them. Luke says be stern. My boots are stern.

My best,
Zachary

 

Aug. 12, 2010

Antonia,

Luke and Emily left for Mount Shasta today. They left lasagna for Devin and I. My first thought was to heat the oven, no microwave. Searching for the pilot light, I let the gas in. Strike anywhere. A blue ball of fire, I burned my beard, eyelashes, arms, legs. No firehouse nearby, just inflammatory language. I sat in the shower for twenty minutes to resolve the burn. My only worry, the house. Devin was gone; I am reckless when alone. Would love to hear you, in the kitchen and what it sounds like when you say nothing.

My best,
Zachary

 

Aug. 15, 2010

Antonia,

To think this week is almost over on the farm and I am still not sure what biodynamic means. Luke has explained Steiner—to farm, no bee is without its hive. I am so much a part of the hive. Yesterday we catered for Mimi. Chopped the sage, plucked the basil, tasted the white beans and goat cheese. Wine for our efforts. 13 hours on my feet and I never want to stop working. The diners were theater people. California theater people. Fuchsia scarves and everything black. I stood by the paper lanterns ready to water, ready to intrude. There was an old piano in the house; some things are better left never tuned. I will send you seeds, please water.

My best,
Zachary

 

Aug. 16, 2010

Antonia,

Hiked the logging road today. Babies on our backs, babies on mothers’ backs. Bear scat everywhere. I feared the bear. They say this is the only Mediterranean climate in California. A bear in a vineyard. The thought, it grows. I looked down to the valley and knew my place. Though, I must admit I still feel at an impasse between you and this whole earth. I wonder about movement. Devin and I took a picture at the end of the hike. Our hats are big, our eyes, bigger.

My best,
Zachary

 

Aug. 17, 2010

Antonia,

Last conversations with Luke. He says when it all comes undone, the real work will begin. We will go back to the farm. I went to the pond to write about leaving. I never know how to write about leaving. Left the farm today right after I filmed little Osiris’ first bicycle ride, in the dirt. He’s my alarm clock. I get the sense we are together all the time. The days here have grown on me, as you have even in your absence. The bus is late; to farm patience with or without you. I will write you soon. 

My best,
Zachary