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The Orchards Grow No More

Nestled among the meadows of sage and sand sits the small, broken town where the Orchards grow no more.

Under the cloudless gray sky I drove past empty houses and stores.

The meeting hall lays quiet. No longer do citizens mingle and discuss within its walls.

Trees wilt at odd angles, as the irrigation wells draw dry. It's evident, the Orchards here grow no more.

On the corner of First and Main an old man sits and drinks his gin. He looks up with a far out gaze, as if an ancient desire is on his mind.

What happened, I ask.

His voice cracks as a warm breeze gently blows weeds. Twenty fruitless harvests ago, they decided to leave.

But he can't leave. He was born here and he'll die here. But he's not alone.

The memories and emotions are still in the buildings of the town where the Orchards grow no more.

Mrs. Bell and her divorce, Ron and Dane's grudge, The Smith's family feud.

The mice and coyote still seem to fight on cue.

Even when the fruit no longer fall like paint chips on walls, the anger does not stall.

The man puts his bottle down and gazes to the wilted trees.

It was a nice place, he finally said as a gray cloud floated high

But when the drought ran long and lakes ran dry, the Orchards grew no more.

Now the houses are empty and church doors are dusty, as the trees grow slim and lanky.

A tear falls.

Soon I will die, the old man says as closes both eyes, but not before the Orchards grow once more.