Editorial: Green and Growing Things

Let me start this editorial by saying that I can’t grow a damned thing other than a weed or two—and those only by accident. My ability to kill plants isn’t one to be underestimated. I come from a long line of farmers and gardeners who have tried to teach me which plants should be planted in full sun or partial shade, which ones need to be watered frequently and which should be left alone. But still, I overwater and underwater, give plants too much sun and they scorch while others wither in darkness.

To make things worse, my son loves to give me potted plants for any/all holidays, which leaves me with enormous mom-guilt when I smuggle the pot of dirt and dead stalks out of the house after he’s gone to bed.

So, safe to say, I am a terrible gardener. And yet, nature goes on. Even now, I’m writing this editorial from my back porch, and I feel fortunate to be surrounded by longleaf pines, oaks and maples, and all the creatures that live in and among them—raccoons, foxes, squirrels, rabbits, opossum, and more deer than you can shake a stick at. And while I know all these folks can be pests (especially to gardeners), I’ll never shake my inner glee at seeing a baby bunny or knobby-kneed fawn tottering down the driveway. Yes, driveway. As much as humans have torn down forests and polluted lakes and irrigated deserts and put up fences, nature doesn’t take no for an answer. Life goes on. Maybe that’s why so many creators are at their most creative when surrounded by green and growing things. The natural world is a constant reminder that life goes on, with or without us.

The stories in this issue revolve around green and growing things. And whether you’re a master gardener, passionate about the environment and reducing your carbon footprint, or simply someone who helps the green things stay green by not interfering with them (like myself), we hope that you appreciate and enjoy these stories as much as we do!

Our first story is “Words from the Whispering Woods” by Cislyn Smith, an FFO alumnus. This is a cautionary tale told in found objects. Out of context, a handful of twigs or dried mud on a fallen log doesn’t mean much in our daily lives. But in context, they become a cautionary tale. I highly suggest reading Cislyn’s interview. There’s an excerpt at the end of the story, and the full interview is available on our Patreon.

“Everything You Once Were” by Marisca Pichette is a fantastical literary look at the natural cycle of death and rebirth. Nature connects us to ourselves, to one another, and beyond that, to all of life itself.

“The Greenhouse Bargain” by Tanya Aydelott is a lovely juxtaposition of life and loss with a fairy tale feel. What would you do if you knew when your life would end? Would you run? Fight? Or attempt to live the time you have left in a meaningful way?

Our reprint this month is “Neighbours and Little Thieves” by Monica Joyce Evans, originally published in in our August 2019 issue. A family adjusts to change with neighbors who are prescient alien plants.

And last but not least, our Flash Fiction Flashback this month is a look back at a reader favorite, How the 567th Annual Pollen Festival Blossomed My Budding Career by S.L. Saboviec.