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A Cold Wind

Can you guess the homeopathic remedy?

There’s a moment in every budding reporter’s life when you just know—this is the one. That one story only you have the inclination and determination to break wide open, because where everyone else saw the glossed exterior, you sensed the rumble beneath.

Follow Tree Farms was mine. Tucked in the golden woods of Vermont’s hills, the farm was a picturesque spot for a Saturday morning sweet bun. A steaming mug of hot cider. Unglazed pottery and tiny bottles of expensive herbal tinctures. The staff was beautiful—a little too beautiful—in matching earth tones and perfectly disheveled hair, and the air was always scented with palo alto and frankincense.

I had been curious about the owner, who was only known as “Farmer K,” since I first stopped in the farm’s general store. A shadowed outline of a man’s profile hung framed behind the counter, but you couldn’t see his face. When asked who he was, the staff would only reply in vague, half-answers: He’s the one who knows. He’s the life-force around here. All of this is due to him.

Most customers would brush this off, happy to sip their turmeric oat latte in bliss, but not me. I needed to meet Farmer K. I could sense something was amiss. And finally, I was given the chance.

Under the guise of a profile piece for the Sunday magazine, I had secured an interview early on a Wednesday morning. I remember that specifically, because the interview had been scheduled for a Monday afternoon, but then I was told Farmer K had taken ill—a severe bout of vomiting, apparently.

So, there I was, prompt as the sunrise, crunching through the frosted leaves as Farmer K’s “hand,” as she was known, led the way to his cabin. She rang a gold bell next to the door, bowed at me slightly, then disappeared back into the woods. A baby fawn would have made more noise.

“You may come,” a voice from inside said.

I entered a sparsely decorated room to see a thin man wrapped in blankets, sitting on a cushion, and propped up by several more. Torn pieces of paper were scattered about, similar to confetti. He reached out to shake my hand and I noticed tiny beads of sweat lining his forehead, catching the light like a crystal crown.

“Greetings,” he said, exhaling a cold breath on my fingers as he spoke. “Thank you for coming so early, but I’m very dedicated to my prayer schedule. This is a convenient hour.”

I smiled, taking the natural opening to ask him more about his routine.

“Not a problem,” I replied. “I figured a successful businessman like yourself would be hard to pin down. It’s impressive you have so much time for yourself.”

“This isn’t my time,” he said decidedly. “What do you see here? Lavish indulgence? I am nothing but a divine husk, and time is the same.”

“I didn’t mean to imply—”

“Few know what they really mean,” Farmer K interrupted. “That’s the problem with this age. You speak without saying. You do without being. The light has gone out, but I have brought it back.”

“Is that so?”

“Verily.” He paused to sip from a clear glass filled with ice and lemon wedges. “Verily. All light needs a vessel. I am the wick connected to the Source for such a time as this.”

“Please, tell me more,” I said, reaching into my coat pocket. “And, by the way, do you mind if I record this?”

Homeopathic Remedy: Veratrum album

Nicole Ziza Bauer

Nicole Ziza Bauer is currently a second year student at HSI and has spent the last ten years working as a writer and editor with a focus on food, travel, sustainability, and contemplation. She’s currently based in Austin, TX with her husband and one-year-old son. She shares more of her work on nicolezizabauer.com.

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Barbara Seideneck

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning is young.

Henry Ford