a fractured parable

by Elizabeth de Barros

SO MUCH ANGST. I catch myself every now and then, wanting to get loud. I sometimes want to raise my fist, break a jar, carry my torch down into the valley and raid the village. But, like I said, I catch myself. I know how easy it is to prove myself a lemming.

I am fraught with desires.

I’d love a better America. A better world. I recoil at the state of our nation. What I view online or in the newspaper has become like reading a sci-fi horror novel with dystopian overtones. Things we used to pay for to get a cheap cinematic thrill now scare us unsolicited. Art imitates life. I don’t want to run down the list of names, and I refuse to serve up the details, but the amount of information that comes my way on a given day tempts on a visceral level. Voyeurism is the practice of all.

I’ll go on. Everyone’s a celebrity but few are deservedly famous. We’re all experts, but we still wake up desperate each morning for something bigger than ourselves. Isn’t it amazing how we’ve become gods overnight? Late night TV proves that ever since Johnny Carson died, we can choose our own late-night talk show host. We weren’t entirely pleased with Jay Leno. He seemed forced. After SNL turned rancid back in the 90s (didn’t you smell it?) we went backstage and reinvented ourselves. Our remote controls give us power to create. So when Letterman went and ruined it for himself, we found a way to be our own Conan. We greet the world on our little stages, make small talk, announce our guest list, and send everyone home with a laugh before waving goodnight. Did I mention Jimmy Fallon?

If this world is your home, you’ll always be turning up the volume, keeping one eye on the ball while you go get something to eat. Living for the weekend keeps getting harder because half-time is your resurrection from the dead. ‘Mericuns like it this way. Just don’t try to convince us.


With a macro lens, I zoom in hard and see a farmer who went out to plant while it was still dark. He spends the better part of the day bent over, taking time with the soil, treating it as though it were a recipe for a fine tea concoction, mixed by the hand of a master blender.

Tillin’ and sowin’, sowin’ and tillin’, and sowin’ some more. Holdin’ that manure fork as if he was born with it. Fertility is the trick! Pack it down, nice and light, let the rains come. “Not too hard, Lord, please.”

When the first peek of growth springs up, his insides smile, making his breeches pop! He leans on his fork, doing his part, shooing away the birds, taking the time to pick off the beetles, keeping things orderly. This goes on all day.

At night, he goes in to settle his haunches, hoping tomorrow brings a little more sunshine.

Wonder what’s on his mind?

“These crops — they’re all I’ve got.”

“That, and time.”  

A farmer being faithful


“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

— Galatians 6:7