love in the devonian

• Composed on

This is new.

They are new to the sun and the air.

We circle them, with their curious green... what are they, dear?

Thank you. Their stems, green, but for what purpose we cannot tell, until...

You seek a closer look, twining twisting closer to — into us

We did not realize we were so close — here, phosphorus, nitrogen, water, as penance.

They know this soil but are yet unable to feed themselves on more than rocks.

But felt.

Is this what we were missing? More than the sudden breeze sends shudders through us, through the you that are becoming us. We are... alive. This water, this new visitor...

Is this what we were missing? Many become two become one, your green to the light, and we within, throughout, unseen.

But felt.

We nourish each other.

Something has changed.

What are these? Why, they reach and grasp as we do.

Our ancestors' ancestors could never have dreamed of what we have done. Of how we have worked so hard to make life easier for us both. Beloved, look. Look what I have made.

We think to call them "roots." With these, we can help you scout the soil for water, for nutrients. We can be together below as above.

A pocket of phosphorus for our love. We burrow and break, rend molecules with the hunger of many, of the thousands of us conveying these nutrients to our green-stemmed lover.

Stems, beloved.

You have cared for us as well, beloved. Without you we would wither, as would you without us. We can care even more perfectly with these. You could even live along these "roots" and help us more. We can take in even more of the earth's offerings, perform more miracles. Make more descendants with more roots that are better than we could ever imagine. Let us try.

We- You... 500 million years, our ancestors have always made good without roots. Have you not cared for us perfectly well? With your deep green stems, you perform sweet miracles with the sun's blessing. You have made many children.

We are in love.

My dear, this root tip is in a bare area, wouldn't you say? Perhaps a bit more carbon for this batch of nitrogen?

That's odd, tell me again about that nest of squirrels whose chatter you love so much?

You drive a hard bargain. Carbon doesn't come cheap, you know! It isn't in the air we breathe!

Ohoho, you remember, do you?

We remember you said their breath was "a breath of fresh carbon dioxide."

Yes, we are familiar through many others such as you. Why?

Ahaha, so we did! Oh, excuse us, love, we never seem to tire of this little game. Here is your carbon.

You know that other strain, that strings along the forest's sunny side?

Neither do we. Thank you.

They told me the orchids are coming up, down at the edge.

Ah, more young ones to eat it all up?

Come, now, don't be that way. When they're older, they can share with their neighbors.

This is true. And I'll be glad to help them along. If this fall is as wet as the last, we should have many new additions to the network, as well.

Indeed... Say.


Do you ever wonder what it was like, in the beginning? Before forests. Before... roots?

Do you suppose there ever was a time before roots?

I do suppose. There must have been a time before bark, before leaves, before roots... Perhaps even before stems.

Mm... It was probably a barren time. A harsh time.

But a beautiful time, as well, don't you think?

How do you figure?

It would have been us. Just us against a barren, harsh time, as you say.

Mhmhm... Yes. I suppose it would have been beautiful. Just us, digging through rock and loam for something to sustain us.

Fewer neighbors to worry about, no news. You, us, the sun and earth.

But we still have each other, and the sun, and the earth. And the neighbors and the news. We have more blessings all the time.

You know, for a haggling rascal, you're rather sappy.

Well, you spend enough time with someone...