Exchanging Lifeís Air for Poisonous Gas

After many disappointing interactions with other human beings, a man sought solitude in a secluded underground home which he built himself.  His home was built inside the bank of a large hill and one could get in and out of the dwelling through a long narrow passage.  He was a rather handy carpenter and had an aptitude for devising new ways to meet his needs, however, his real passion was for gardening.  He designed his garden so that it would produce food for him year-round and his garden grew inside his underground home.  The plants' photosynthesis occurred by means of artificial light powered indirectly by the sun through solar panels placed strategically outside of his home.  Also, the man had drilled a good well with fresh clean water full of nutritious minerals.  He devised a way that water would trickle continuously to his garden.   The man was totally self-sufficient in this world of his own design and he never had the need to step out of it.  Actually, he was loathe to do so out of fear of a chance meeting with another human being.  And, although he cared not so much for the human race, he did have a rather rich appreciation for the life which he busily cultivated in his garden.  The bounty of his garden seemed to increase in direct proportion to his growing love for it.  He would even have some very lively conversations with individual plants.

One day the man felt a light tremor which, he knew from prior experiences, was an earthquake.  Nothing at all about his world seemed to be altered.  However, he suddenly noticed that he could not recall how he and his world had come to be there.  He was also unaware of anything existing outside of the dwelling in the bank of the hill.  The man was content.  He was a part of the garden and gave the garden what it needed without his being aware of his doing anything.  He ate when he was hungry and drank from his well.  The garden drank from the well and was well-fertilized through the manís and its own waste.  Many years passed while the man remained in ignorant bliss.

Sometimes the garden would grow a greater abundance of food and sometime it would grow less.  The man could remember and imagine the garden when it would give him more and better food.  He drew pictures of what he would imagine and the garden would seem to become what he would draw.  The man knew that, so long as he drew plants laden with fruit and vegetables, he would always have plenty of food.  He continued on in this way for many years and he became very good at drawing plants.

One day,  a being in the shape of a big ripe tomato appeared before him and told him some special things that needed to be done for the tomato plants.  Then, a bean spirit spoke to him, and then a corn spirit, until a spirit representing each kind of plant spoke to him and told him of its needs.  Of course he very devotedly followed their instructions so that he would be assured of always having plenty of food.  Now, when he drew pictures of his plants, they had faces and mouths.  More and more spirits would come to him with their demands.  There was a water spirit, a spirit of light, a spirit of the soil and there were even chair spirits and a spirit of his own reflection.

Eventually, the man became overwhelmed by the demands of these spirits.  He could not do all of what was asked of him so he had to choose which spirits were the most important to him.  It seemed to him that the spirit of his own reflection was the leader of all the other spirits so he reasoned that he would be provided with all his needs if he only worried about satisfying the demands of that one spirit.  And, consequently, the man did have plenty of  food.  The man would converse often with the spirit and, since the spirit seemed to think and reason like himself, he would ask the spirit new kinds of questions like ďHow?Ē and more especially ďWhy?Ē  This led the man to wondering about the possibility of a world existing outside of his dwelling.  The man explored his walls thoroughly until he found a door which opened to a narrow hallway terminating in a wall of rocks.  The man spent a considerable amount of time and energy wondering about what might lay beyond the rocks.  He tried removing one rock after another but there seemed to be an endless supply.  The man became so obsessed with the wall he wanted to spend all of his time in the hallway working on it.  He would bring in food from the garden so he could work while he ate.  He slept in the hallway and his, and much of his gardenís waste stayed in the passage.  After this went on for quite awhile, some of the plants began to die and the man was pleased to find that the dry fiber burned well and he used it to light the hallway while he busily worked at dismantling the wall.  He put many of the rocks into his garden and he thought they were quite beautiful.

More and more plants died providing the man with more fuel for his fire, thus allowing him to work longer periods of time on the wall.  His garden was rather large so he had plenty of food although it was not always as good as he had remembered.  Perhaps he would find something better on the other side of the wall.  Once, while the man was working, he became very light-headed.  He discovered that he could recover from these spells quite quickly just by resting a little.  He would lie in his garden among the beautiful rocks decorated elegantly with various plants.  He had cleared away most of the unsightly debris.  His routine of working on the wall and then resting in his garden suited him quite well until, one day, he did not awaken.

The man did have some family and friends who had been looking for him throughout these many years.  It just so happened that chance brought the outside world into the manís dwelling only one day after he had died.  A backhoe, which was being used to build a new road, plowed into the manís home.  The workers found the man resting peacefully in death while lying in a lovely rock garden, and they notified the authorities who, in turn, notified the manís family.  People wondered in awe over what was found in the home.  The doctor conducting the autopsy reported that the man died of suffocation.  The manís drawings became greatly prized and each now sell for thousands of dollars.