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Commercialism has replaced our drawers of heirloom seeds with endless shelves of cereal boxes. The tragedy for me, is that I don’t even know what to miss. The planet is in the midst of a tumultuous love story. In such a story, there is always someone left mourning unrequited emotion. Someone will be left on the outside. The planet must rewrite its story, but who will be the characters it remembers?

The universe, the planet and humanity know this to be true. The real question is for you. Where will it end? The final task falls to the reader, to retell in whatever way you choose. Please include the characters you know and the land where you live. Even though we write from the same beginning, our survival depends on a diversity of endings.

Coevolution is a dynamic hybrid, a creative process that says, “There are enough reasons already why things don’t work, find a reason that they do.” Listen to a voice; recognize a seed. Ideas do not need to be big. They simple need to be. Peace Corps taught me to protect diversity in nature. Academia taught me to fight for diversity in people. I have known stewards. I have known warriors. They preserve to live; they change to survive. They give me a future. It is my task to write the ending, to learn how to appreciate the setting and characters that are a part of my story. I am a believer.

Our stories are nothing without the seeds in conversation around us. The words in my short story Stolen are the result of mostly conversations, some with my father and many with myself. My father suggested that I write a story about nature. As a man who has spent his life believing both in nature’s wrath and in his own ability to sustain his romance with this beauty, it seemed only right that it be a love story. Love, after all, is why we live through hurt. The raccoons were provided by my aunt and her encouragement of nature outside her door upon which a farmer would draw his gun. That word, though romanticized, in practice is not so romantic. My New York City born mother discovered this truth in her marriage to my father.

Please read my story "Stolen" published in The Hopper Issue IV. Beyond my family's influence listed above, the editorial staff of The Hopper was extremely professional and engaging to work with. I know my story is better because of their conversations and time.

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