Once upon a time, and for as long a time as most could remember, the field was a bustling neighborhood. All manner of plants lived in it. Around them lived teh insects that pollinated them, the minerals that fed them, and they animals they fed. Season after season they cycled ’round. It kept the field interesting and made it feel alive.
Then one day, as these things are reckoned, one of the Upright Folk came to the field and tore up all the plants who lived there. In their place, ze planted Corn. Just Corn. Ze planted Corn the next year, too, and the year after. The year after that, ze cleared out an adjoining field and planted Corn there, too.
Around the edges of the field, the plants and animals and insects and minerals who remained looked on in dismay. They loved Corn, but two fields filled with Corn and nothing else? Who ever heard of such a thing? They felt sorry for the animals and insects who weren’t getting fed, for the minerals who’d packed up and slunk away, and even for Corn itself, who must be lonely with only itself to talk to.
After many years of this, a stranger came to the field. A bacteria. That bacteria had a look around and made straight for the field. “I’m mighty hungry,” it said.
“What do you like to eat?” asked that generous corn.
“Corn,” said that hungry stranger.
The plants and insects and animals and minerals on the fringes looked on in horror. They had among them plants who could’ve given Corn a warning about that hungry bacteria, minerals who could slow it down, and insects who could eat it right up. But they could do nothing. Some simply could no longer enter the field. Others found the all-corn environment quite hostile to their needs. They could only watch as that hungry bacteria ate up their friend Corn.
When the Upright One saw what had happened, ze wept and cursed hir fate. Ze vowed next time to plant special Corn that had been made to resist the
hungry bacteria. The community on the fringe shook their heads. Ze hadn’t learned. Another hungry bacteria, or virus, or fungus, would come along soon. Preparing to face your next opponent by making yourself invulnerable to the last one? Who ever heard of such a thing?
At last, after many years, the field was exhausted. And Corn was exhausted. The farmer called the soil “dead” and abandoned the field.
The community began to return. Slowly at first, creeping in at the edges so the Upright One wouldn’t notice. Then in droves as the minerals spiffed up the soil and the pollinators started carrying messages again. Once again it was like once upon a time.
And I am happy to say that when the Upright One saw the field thriving again, ze learned about companion plantings and crop rotation now only sees fields of endless Corn in hir nightmares.
The field was a bustling neighborhood again. The field felt alive again.