When Teosinte met Human
by Alvaro Azcárraga
[ I ]
9000 years ago Teosinte met Human in the Balsas River Valley.
They then created a pact with each other.
“I, Teosinte, will provide food from my body, but I will not be able to disperse my seeds.”
“I, Human, will sow your seeds, make sure you have enough water, and that your soil is rich and your body protected.”
Then Teosinte grew taller and simplified itself. From a bush came a stalk, growing a thick husk to protect its seeds
Human adapted to its new life, changing its jaw, changing its digestive system, and expanding its brain.
Human took Teosinte across the Americas and it grew happy in all directions.
Adapting to new lands, new sun patterns, new watering systems, new voices.
Adapting to multiple lands,
high humid mountains,
Human named Teosinte:
Human cared and understood its responsibility.
9000 years later, we forgot our pact. We forgot our common language. We evolved into Homo Sapiens Sapiens and Zea mays.
[ II ]
Human started to get naturally curious. Asking questions and creating solutions. Pushed water, pushed soil, pushed and asked and pushed.
Humans memory started to grow hazy, their stories lost. They created division.
Human killed Human,
Human stole from Human,
Human learned from Human,
and Human forgot.
The touch of soil and plant material was replaced with metal and smooth cotton textile.
Humans lived even longer, and some did not have to grow tired working outside.
Human created a system that changed how we thought. Human created outdoors, the wild, and nature.
Human discovered bird-dropping islands, and then from their weapons created the Haber process producing rich soil from the air.
Teosinte became Maize and then Corn, and a product, object, commodity.
Teosinte was now quiet, still, and non-living.
Human forgot the deal they made at the beginning. Human forgot its origin.
It was not until Human learned enough to be able to communicate with another language, the language of science, that Human began to hear the whispers again. Saying what other Human had been saying since the very beginning. The Human that Human had silenced killed, displaced, and muted.
[ III ]
Human had created a whole belt of Corn. A general term used for grain. Corn’s name felt foreign its body felt different, whispers from its neighbors started to sound the same. It grew tall, it grew strong and fast. Human took care of this belt of corn.
Maize was celebrated worldwide, mountains of its seeds were created, giant buildings erected by Human to house its body. Infrastructure, policy, subsidies, and landscapes altered on its behalf.
But Human had underestimated Corn just like Corn had underestimated Human. Now Human felt shackled by its growing web of Corn; the (Maize)scape they had created.
But Corn had become too used to Human, Corn had been changed and molded by Human.
Now Corn didn’t know how to go back to what it once was. Both had forgotten how they started, both had forgotten their memories and language.
Corn only heard the pleas, “how are we going to feed 8 billion Humans?” Corn had siblings that could help, but their names grew old and distant, as its own name felt foreign.
The voiceless Maize and the non-listening Human became stuck in the cage of commodity.
Human asked how do we move in space when this land is poisoned land, stolen land, battled land, purchased land?
Human sitting next to the whispering Maize might begin to appreciate those 9000 years.