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Fredrick Zydek

The Secret of the Olive Tree’s Success

Hundreds of years ago, the olive tree
escaped cultivation and began growing
wild all around the Mediterranean Sea.
This tree can live as long as the giant

redwoods of California.  Some, planted
in America in the seventeen hundreds
by Spanish conquistadors, are still alive.  
In Palestine, there are groves of olive trees

that date all the way back to the beginning
of the Christian Era.  Olive trees are one
of the few creatures on the planet who
know how to fertilize themselves.  They’re

sort of like clams in that way.  They use
only a breeze to  scatter their pollen to their
flowers and require no other companions.
But on windy days, they get reckless and will

accept pollen from any tree in the grove. 
That may explain why they range from apple-
shaped to plum-shaped and range in color
from sultry purple to the most mysterious

of blacks.  Thirty percent of an olive’s weight
is oil.  It is the most digestible  substance
on earth.   It’s as if the trees are aware that we
know this and so grow in some places like weeds.


My Mother’s Second Husband

I’ve never understood why she ran off
with such a dumb man.  He had no class,

could barely read and write and a wife
who gave him three kids.  It doesn’t take

an advanced degree to figure out that
a guy who will cheat on his first wife will

probably cheat on his second.  I tried not
to think of their scenarios of seduction. 

It didn’t work.  The results weren’t utterly
disgusting but they were more than I

bargained for.    He was one of those guys
who cheated at solitaire.  That said it all. 

There is no good way to tell your mother
you think she’s made the biggest mistake

of her life, and so you do what she did when
something unexpected and unwanted was

made known about you.  You decide love
is greater than the unexpected, the uninvited

and the unwanted.  You grin and bear it.
And when the time comes, when she finds

out he’s seeing another woman, you paint
and carpet the guest room and bring her home.



One Stupendous Whole

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body nature is, and God the soul.

- Alexander Pope ;

The backbone of the universe knows this
better than most people.  Death and all its
invisible powers appreciate
this as well.  Every fortress of small talk
and every conversation from protest
to challenge understands this to be true.
Courage and conscience are spun from this stuff,

our social and political temples,
the audacity to ask questions,  then
mask some of the answers in art.  Whether
we see it or not, they are all in deep
dialogue with heaven and each other. 
Everything is an intervention for
something else.  If you don’t think consciousness

invades all things, ask yourself how rocks have
managed to figure out how to keep their
atoms and electrons under such rein 
that stones can remain stones far longer than
green things can remain green or folks like us
remain who and what we are despite our
ability to ask better questions.


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