Fear / by Karie Luidens


Which is the greater fear in all this? That my struggling garden will die, my farm job will exhaust me and lead nowhere, that I will fail. Or, that neither success nor failure will matter anyway, because nothing I do matters one way or another. None of it matters. I’m laboring long hours and sweating to death in the New Mexico heat trying to do something good and meaningful with my time. But for what? Nothing a single individual does with his or her life ever really matters in the grand arc of history because we’re all forgettable specks who sweat and strive only to accomplish nothing at worst or a speck at most, and then be swept away and forgotten for eternity. 

“Fear in all this”—what am I even referring to? This year? This blog project? This life. 

I don’t know. I’m drafting this post on my phone in the middle of a morning of harvesting hydroponic lettuce. How did I end up harvesting hydroponic lettuce in New Mexico? That was never part of any plan. This is surreal. I’m still wearing the sterile latex-free but latex-like gloves everyone on the farm crew is required to wear when packing fresh produce for market. Somehow my fingers can manipulate the phone’s touchscreen through the gloves, which is odd. I’m sure I’m not supposed to touch my phone mid-harvest. Who knows where it’s been. Everywhere. In both back pockets of my jeans. On counters and car seats. Pressed to my damp cheek. The world is incomprehensibly vast and threatening and meaningless. Always wash your lettuce, everyone.