Story about the environment

By Niharika Bhavsar

At the stroke of dawn, my father and I begin the day by treading through the sagging tallgrass just behind the barn, to let the horses trot out towards the backfield. Haltered loosely, they walk alongside us calmly and obediently. In the softly orange-lit morning, the light mist from the night’s rain welcomes us. After hearing the steely clink of the red metal gate close behind us, we make our way back to the barn. This is my farm. It’s where I live and have lived my whole life with my father; it’s my home. I won’t ever let anything destroy this paradise. That’s what my father tells me. He’s my hero.

And now, the real work starts. I squint my eyes, facing the horizon. I can sense something foreboding from over the plane. But I quickly shake the thought away, knowing the day could very well go on untainted by sorrow. Although, I just cannot forget the faint memory from yesterday evening when grandma pleaded with father to stop our work. But I couldn’t understand why. My eyes met with grandma’s. She was about to tell me “the truth about the work your father does,” but the memory fades out.

The light peaking through the window panes finds its place on a glistening, silvery-green tube that shoots out nutrients to replenish our fruit trees. Although if inhaled by humans, the mist would cause instant death. So, we gear up. Zipping up in our full-coverage suits, masks on, and gloves tightly wrapped around our fingers, we step out into the brightening light of day. My father gives me a nod, and we head towards the orchard to begin work. I press the tube, which spews out a smoky green mist on the leaves. Customarily, the branches shed their small, shriveled up remnants onto the grass below.

“Stop please! Fumigating won’t solve anything!” cries out my grandmother suddenly. From the side of the orchard, I glance at her tear-streaked face. My father orders me to continue with the work and ignore her. I remember something: she had once told me all life is sacred, essential parts of the earth, even ones that may be “invasive.” Invasive? I never really understood the word.

My father looks at me, pointing towards the small mounds in the grass. “NO not the babies!” she wails. Before I can even register, she bolts straight into the path of the steam. My eyes widen as I realize what has happened. I am paralyzed with fear; my legs feel as if they are threaded deeply into the ground like roots. I dart my eyes towards my father, whose face watches the scene without emotion. She coughs and coughs and won’t stop, dropping to her knees while latching her fingers tightly around a branch. My heart pounding wildly, my mouth slowly opens into a scream.

Somehow, one last thought pierces me: “what if we are the invasive ones?” And I can’t ever shake this one from my memory.

Share this: