We live in a stone house that was built one hundred and forty years ago. This house is on an agricultural farm, one hundred and seventy-six acres in size. There is an outdoor pool, a forest and a huge pond (big enough to sail on), and we have free run of it all. Pretty sweet.
However, we are not alone. Our landlord lives next door. Luckily for us, he is a thirty-year-old, phlegmatic, who is almost never here (a farmer… up at dawn, home after dark), and when he is, he’s a pleasure to be around. He’s basically a young friend who we see occasionally and happen to pay once a month. Pretty sweet.
We also share the space with one more entity— Monsanto. Yip, as in the devil’s agent on earth, as in the Frankenfood, Roundup Monsters.
When we came to scope out the house, Farmer Scott took us on a tour of the farm. About half way through, he pointed to a beautifully kept ten acres and said, “and that bit there, I rent out to Monsanto. They raise experimental crops and do all the scientific research in that workshop behind us.” I almost died.
“Monsanto, as in the devil company?” I asked.
He chuckled and said, “yeah, they haven’t done a good job in the PR department.” NO SHIT! Jesus himself would need to come down and endorse that nonsense before I’d feel chill about living on this land, I thought. We’ll be poisoned, I thought. We’ll end up having to hire Erin Brockovich, I panicked.
But, this was our new home… I could feel it in the cockles. And then there were, The Odds…
The Monsanto people, (who I didn’t have anything to do with last year… nary a word was shared betwixt us), arrived back at the farm about two weeks ago. The winter is over. Since then, a plethora of weird and wonderful machines have been arriving. This very morning, as I write this, there is a gargantuan praying mantis shaped machine being offloaded from a flatbed truck right outside my bedroom window. It’s green. Not John Deer green, mutant green. I hate it. And yet, it shall be doing some sort of experimental evil on ‘MY’ property for the next five months. And there is nothing I can do about it. I have to trust the odds.
For three days, a servant of Satan has been riding around on a machine that looks like the Mars Rover. It has been running all day, and it beeps. It ominously sounds like the little stainless steel parachute things that are sent down from the dome in the Hunger Games. You know what I’m talking about, right? When Katniss has a burn on her leg, and Haymitch manages to Roundup (see what I did there) support for his tribute… and then he parachutes in a miracle ointment… can you hear it floating down amongst the trees… mema.mema.mema? That is the sound I’ve been hearing! Freaky right? I’m in the arena! My life is the Hunger Games.
And the odds?… they are never in my favour.
But this is why I live here, sharing space with Monsanto. The odds were the sign that this is the space for us. The Littles are used to having the odds stacked against them, we’ve even become a little uncomfortable when everything seems to be going our way. (I know, so melodramatic… but I’m in the mood.)
About once every five weeks, I have a couple of sleepless nights. It’s usually when I’m a bit low, and I happen to allow myself to think about my children’s future. I realise that most parents are not consistently thinking about what is going to ‘happen’ to their kids, but I can’t help it. You see, they do things, or don’t do things that remind me that the odds are stacked against them, every day. They are in grades seven and four, and they both still can’t read.
Not being able to read is the equivalent of putting in a ballot into the Hunger Games pool. The older they get, the more they have to give in ballots: Can’t read that math question— ballot. Can’t read the menu— ballot. Can’t write your drivers test, because you can’t read the questions— ballot!
If this life were the hunger games, my children would have ten times the chances of having to fight than yours would. And there is NOTHING I can do about it. I can’t trade places with them, there are no magic pills I can parachute down from the heavens.
We’ll just have to fight.
But we are great fighters, us Littles. And we’re smart, we’re learning to pick the arenas we fight in. This farm is a beautiful place to do battle. We’ll not drink the water, but we’ll sail on it. We’ll not eat the corn grown here, but we’ll play man-hunt in it. We’ll take what we can, and spit out the rest. We’ll beat the odds.
Every life has its battles. You have yours, and we have ours. The least we can hope for is that we inspire others by surviving. We’ll all survive.
Let’s raise three fingers in solidarity, stretch out your arm and … all together now, Mocking Jay whistle.