Uncle John walks with me to the edge of his field where his beans grow broadleaf in the shadow of trees. I know most trees. Sometimes a new one grows overnight and Uncle John and Buppa take me through the seedling through its roots into the soil to feel the cool earth.
“There’s someone wants to meet you, Gio. You like that? It’s okay if we say hello?”
“I like that.”
A tall, tall man walks out of the woods edging Uncle John’s field. He moves quietly, his footsteps like whispers, and steps carefully, as if his rich brown sandals sense what’s beneath them, making sure nothing is harmed, nothing is crushed. He wears garden-green silk stockings and his violet trousers flare with each step, and it seems he walks with the earth, not on it.
Uncle John and I sweat from our walk in the warm sun but the heat doesn’t bother the tall, tall man. His shirt ripples like vanillaed cream in the slight breeze, and the black lines on his violet jacket frill like feathers while the jacket ruffles. His broad, banded white and yellow hat hides his face but his elegant beard, trimmed so precisely to his chin, has gold and white highlights in it, depending on how it catches the sun. His bowtie is gold and lavender, rimmed with black.
“Say hello, Gio.”
I offer my hand.
The man bends slowly, gracefully. A cloud of earth smells, growing smells, Buppa’s garden, Mrs. Minerva’s hives, John and Mary’s fields, Chan’s medicines, Beautiful Painted Arrow’s flatbreads, chamomile, rosa ragosa, rose of sharon, and clematis surround me. Insects buzz around him, under his hat. Some crawl up his silk stockings, pants, and jacket. A spider builds a web between his chin and bow tie.
We shake. His hand is soft and reminds me of lavender leaves. I look down. My hand is wrapped in a flower petal.
His other hand lifts off his hat. His face is a sunflower, his eyes bright yellow stella d’oros, his beard corn hairs flowing with pollen.
The wind tickles my ears. “Hhhelloh Geeeooh.”
A new friend! “Hello!”
He stands up, pulls away, moves over the earth, carried by the wind, back to the trees. He leans against one, a mid-size oak. His legs merge into a single stalk, his shit and jacket become petals and blooms, flowers burst from his hands, his hat scatters pollen to the sun.
The mid-size oak is embraced by a climbing clematis.
Something about the oak.
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