A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
BY JOSHUA WU
At our old house, we had a garden out back. We had all sorts of plants like lettuce and broccoli and spinach, ready for us to eat every day. It wasn’t a big garden but it was enough for all of us, and my grandfather tended to it every day to keep it clean and tidy. It was Mother Earth’s gift to us.
Such a gift from the earth was bound to attract unwanted guests like caterpillars and whiteflies and grubs in the dirt that reaped the spoils of our hard work and labor, as well as other animals like snakes and toads that helped keep down the pest control but were still not necessarily good. The little insects and animals would take their small portions from the garden, just as we took from the garden. Since it was our garden, we had the task of making sure the animals did not take too much.
In our neighborhood, there were a lot of deer roaming around, periodically emerging from the forest and disappearing again. One day, one of the deer must have gotten lost, or have been attracted by the smell of the vegetables because it ended up in the backyard. Then, before we knew it, the deer had a fawn and our backyard became the fawn’s home. The mother sometimes left the fawn to forage in the forest, which left the fawn alone. Of course, you know where this is going. The little deer saw that the nearest (and possibly the tastiest) source of food was our garden.
My grandpa, not caring for the fact that the cute little deer was beginning to grow quickly, was dismayed to find that his once lush and bountiful garden was absolutely in shambles and quickly devised a plan. He took some yellow rope and proceeded to bind up the poor unassuming deer and put it in the corner to teach it for once and for all to not practice theft. He intended to leave it there for a while and let it go or perhaps have deer that day. It seemed strange to me but I realized that he probably handled things differently back in China and was not used to deer devouring his beloved crops.
Fortunately for the deer and my grandpa, my parents convinced him that it was probably the least best course of action to traumatize the young fawn more thoroughly and he acknowledged it, grudgingly agreeing to free the thus entrapped deer. It promptly ran out through the gate and into the forest, probably thinking to escape the bloodthirsty humans who had binded it up.
My mother and father would always tell me this story, along with other ones. For them it was probably just a funny story that we had a laugh at, but for me it was a lesson.
I think that this is a good lesson for us. We sometimes like our animal friends but if they do bad things many times we get furious. We need to remind ourselves that sometimes these animals are just following their natural instincts. For instance, the innocent deer was very young and naturally ate from the garden. As humans we have been tasked as caretakers of the world, to share the earth with all the other creatures, but so far we have done a terrible job.
Society a lot of times makes you think it is all about you. We have neglected our duty to take care of this world, becoming involved in petty tirades and conflicts, while global warming and extinction have been slowly creeping up on us. While we languish in violence and conflict, the earth has been slowly deteriorating from our neglect and omission in our minds. Animals and plants also have a claim on this world but to preserve it, they need us humans. If we go down a path of wanton destruction and death, we will soon be swept away by the foreboding of armageddon. However, if we choose to begin to look outside our own needs and our own concerns we can see that quite a lot of the world is broken. The question now is if we languish in the suffering and pain or do we act. Without the earth there will be no humans. We must save the beleaguered earth or our own desires and wants will be extinguished along with us.
There is an end to everything in this world. Eventually all the stars will be blown out. Atoms will break down as the bonds shatter due to the enmity of time. To that there is no question. The question is; how will we preserve OUR world. The earth will eventually explode into a flaming fireball or something, but how can we extend our time as a species on this planet along with the rest of nature?
All of us can learn.
My grandpa, sometime later after the deer incident/fawnnapping, was outside smoking or resting when he saw a lawn folding chair that was rattling on the inside. My grandpa looked inside and saw a bird stuck there. Of course learning from past mistakes, he opened up the closed chair and gently cupped his hands and lifted the bird out of its prison. The bird acted like nothing had happened and flew away.
Joshua Wu, did not choose to write this piece but was forced to by his mother. He ended up enjoying it and since has been writing steadily every day. He enjoys playing soccer and rock climbing, as well as fishing in his spare time. He goes to Canyon Vista Middle School and is currently 13. He was inspired to write this piece because it was one of his only childhood memories and the one with the most meaning.