Lighthouse: Everyday Seeds


I walked a lot in the following days. I had so much to process. Slowly, as I settled into myself, the details of what Xirra and Teko shared with me began to fit into place.

One of my biggest obstacles in comprehending Teko’s explanations of the genetic similarities and differences rested in our varying morphology. Sept had two hearts, for example. How did that work? Teko showed me the genetic marker for it. Cues from the environment switched it on or off. In this environment, it was switched off, so our child would have one heart, one liver, one pancreas, two lungs, like me. That was why they used surrogates from the planets where they wanted their offspring to live, so that the genes would respond in the way best suited for life on that planet.

Our child would have one heart. It made me happy.


I’d asked about telepathy–was there a genetic marker for that? Xirra explained it was an ability, and while everyone had some capacity for it, talent varied individually.

“Like with math skills,” Teko said. “Plus there’s the cultural aspect. When you belong to a culture that avows something isn’t possible, you’re less likely to develop the ability to do it.”

I hoped our child would have Sept’s proclivity for telepathy.  I sure wasn’t any good at it, though I was beginning to notice synchronicity. For example, one day, as I approached home after a long walk with Mojo, I thought of Morning Joe, whom I hadn’t seen for a few weeks.

When I got back, there he was, in our living room!

“Morning Joe!” I said. “How are you?”

“I am well, Mallory Sevens. Thank you very much.” He spoke formally, with a slight whistle, but he impressed me with how far his language skills had advanced.


He asked what I’d been doing. Maybe it was a mistake, but I told him about my visit with Xirra and Teko.

He looked sad.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Morning,” I said. “I guess maybe it brings up bad memories to hear about this?”


“It is OK, Mallory Sevens,” he replied. “I feel like this. I look at it. It looks not-happy. I say, OK. This is how I feel. Then, it becomes me. It is OK. I am all things.”

We talked about the ship. I tried to explain how it felt to be inside the living space craft, and he smiled.

“I remember ship!” he said. “Ship that brought me! This was good ship with feeling of happy!”

While Sept prepared a late lunch, Morning Joe told me about his journey here. They’d traveled through many galaxies, finally reaching the Milky Way. “Stars are friends,” he said. And, after my experience, I knew what he meant.


We sat down to eat.

“I want to help,” said Morning Joe.


We weren’t sure what he meant.

“With others, like me. I want to help with Project Home,” he continued.

“Do you mean with the Refugee Project?” Sept asked. “With the program that brought you here?”

“Brought me here,” said Morning Joe. “Bring other peoples here. That is to help.”

“You know, Ritu was mentioning a community gardening program to me the other day,” I told Sept. “It’s not directly with the refugees, but it’s kind of tangentially connected.”

“Like gardens,” Morning Joe said.


The Peace Garden program involved Ritu’s collective and a few other community organizations, including schools and senior centers, to grow organic produce and provide green-space buffers throughout the region. Native plant landscapes surrounded the gardens, to attract and provide habitat for pollinators. Ritu planned for students, seniors, and extra-T refugees to work together.

“That’s a good plan,” Sept said.


After the meal, we walked Morning Joe out.

“I am good in garden,” he said. “We feed peoples, OK? We make friends. We have happy-to-be-here. It’s good.”


“He’s settling in,” Sept said when we walked back inside. “I think Ritu will be happy for his help.”

I agreed. Morning Joe would make a good gardener of peace.

Santi was settling in well, too.

Sebastion, in a burst of new energy, now that we’d been helping out for a few weeks, decided he wanted to open a school for the kids in the community. The public schools had closed down when the regular folks left, after the insurance companies pulled coverage. But there were still a few families with kids: The Delgados, Seb’s family, and now ours, plus a few others. One of our neighbors offered up his big house overlooking the cove for the school to meet in, and Sebastion began to plan how he could put to use his early childhood education degree. He wanted to incorporate the best practices from Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, and Reggio Emilia. He was especially excited about Reggio Emilia, since it came about in the aftermath of World War II as a means of seeding peace.

To prepare for the start of this new school, I took Santi shopping. She chose whimsical clothes–silly hats and pastel sweaters and skirts with lots of flowers.


“You look like a rainbow!” I told her.


We watched a lot of children’s TV together. She liked the singing and dancing, and it seemed to help her pick up words and phrases.

“Lessall gotoozee BunnyVarm!” she sang softly.


I sang it with her when we danced.

“Let’s all go to the Bunny Farm!”


“Kumdon toozee BunnyVarm. Zozo FunJump!”

“Bunny Farm! All the free bunnies, welcome home!”


“Mojo is free, yes no?” Santi asked. “He is not the free bunny, but he is free bosko, right?”

“Yeah,” I said. “He’s free. He can come and go as he pleases. It was his choice to stay with us.”

“Same-same,” she said.


Maybe all my pregnancy hormones planted hope in me. I began to feel that we were creating something wonderful, sustainable, a community based on peace.


I began to believe that what we were creating might even protect us from the AAC and their campaign to put their members in office. I had the notion that nothing was stronger than our good feelings, not even hate.


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Author’s Note: The Bunny Farm TV show and song come from SummerFalls’ Devine Legacy, which I enjoyed very much! Lots of good memories from that story and those times!

Shift 3: Others

A bunch of days passed. I don’t know how many. I lost count.

I sort of forgot about everything except picking saguaro fruit, prickly pears, and cactus barrel fruit. I thought of catching crickets, too, and eating them for protein, but I decided not. One evening, I was playing my guitar, and I noticed that a cricket was chirping in tempo with me. I kept varying my speed, and the cricket kept matching it. When I’d stop, it would stop. I’d start, it would start. So I decided against eating crickets.

I picked mesquite pods and ground them with a rock onto another rock that I used for a mortar. Then I mixed the ground pods into a paste and dipped the grilled fruit and nopalitos in it. It was delicious.

At one point, I found that I had to roam further and further to get the fruit I needed.  It took all day of walking to find enough to eat.

I remembered how, when I camped here with my dad, we returned to the main lodge sometimes. They had a fridge there, and whenever there were events, like barbecues, people would store the leftovers in the fridge with a big sign, “Eat Me.” One day, Dad and me had been hiking all day. We were starving. When we checked the extras fridge, we found some steaks and corn on the cob. That was the best meal.


When I got to the lodge, I held my breath and closed my eyes as I opened the fridge. When I looked, there was a box of veggie burger patties. The expiration date was for December, and I knew it was still fall. They smelled fresh enough. I found a package of buns in the pantry, too.

While I grilled them, I thought about how stuff shows up when we need it. Not always. But sometimes. And when it does, it feels really, really good.


I took my meal inside. There was a gardener there, reading a joke book.


“So,” he said, “how’s the research going?”

I was confused. I hadn’t met him, I didn’t think. But I’d seen him around a few times.

“I overheard you telling some tourists you were studying the saguaros?”


I launched into telling him about what I’d observed on my treks. I was developing a theory about how higher elevation saguaros seemed to have greater chlorophyll.

He listened attentively.

“You’re probably onto something,” he said, and I started feeling really happy. I was happy to share my ideas, and I was feeling really happy that I was able to pull off my cover so well.

Then he said, “You’re kinda young for a university student. What are you, fifteen?”


“Fourteen,” I confessed.

“I was going to guess fourteen,” he said. “You look really young, if you don’t mind me saying so. But you’re so smart about plants, you seem a little older.”


He didn’t ask me anything about myself after that. Instead, he launched into a long story about his own background. He ran away when he was not much older than me. Abusive home. Alcoholic step-dad. He called it “that old story.”

He said he lived all over–in cities, in the mountains, on beaches.

“It was tough going,” he said, “but I learned a lot. I learned about myself and I learned about others. Picked up some good skills. Eventually, I got my GED, went to community college in horticulture, and now, here I am, working for the parks.”

I felt like he was trying to give me hope.

“I’ll look out for you,” he said, “while you stay here. You know you can’t stay forever. One thing about this life, you gotta move on, eventually. But while you stay, I won’t rat you out, and I’ll let you know if there’s anything you got to watch out for.”


I don’t know if I can trust him. I want to. He’s been where I am. And he’s got a really nice smile and his voice is warm. If I listen to my gut, it says, trust him. But my brain says he’s got rules to follow, as a government employee, which he is, working for the parks, and one of those rules probably says something about not letting people live at the park, while another one probably says something about reporting kids on their own to the authorities.


“I appreciate that,” I told him. I decided I wouldn’t completely trust him, but I would partway. So that’s what I’m doing.

For example, I didn’t tell him my name. I told him I was called Jazz. I wasn’t going to tell him where I was staying, but he knew already. He’d seen my camp when I was out walking.

I asked him about the campsite, about whose it was.

He said that last year, and the year before that and the year before that, back for quite a ways, some old guy lived there in the winters. He always left come spring, heading up north, most likely, and then before the snow arrived up there, he’d show up down here.

“So, I guess I can stay until it snows up north?” I asked.


“Fine by me,” Deon said. That’s the gardener’s name. “Maybe longer. That fellow was getting pretty old, and for years now, we’ve been expecting a winter when he wouldn’t show.”


“How come you let him live here in the winter,” I asked, “instead of reporting him?”

“What good would reporting him do?” Deon said. “He’s not hurting anybody or anything. We kind of like looking out for him.”


“Me and the other gardeners.”

“You won’t tell them about me, will you?”

“Honey,” he said, “you can’t keep yourself a secret from them. You may have yourself convinced that nobody sees you, and sometimes, nobody will see you. But you got to learn that everywhere you go, there are people like me, who’ve been there, who will notice. Stop trying to hide, and you’ll have better luck blending in.”


I wondered if he was right. I mean, he’d been there.

So that day, I decided I’d spend the whole day there at the park center, not hiding. I played my guitar, right out in front of the lodge for everybody to hear.


And then at suppertime, I ate my meal with a family in the picnic area.


The dad and his daughter were on a vacation, just the two of them, driving through the Southwest gathering fossils.


When his daughter ran off to play on the space ship, I wondered if she had any idea how lucky she was.


When I was falling asleep, I felt really sad for some reason. My cricket was chirping, and the moon was out, and millions of stars were shining, and I’d made a friend that my gut told me I could trust.


But inside, I felt like a little girl, alone in the world.

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