Nothing drills home creation’s fallen nature like an infestation of flea beetles. They invade my garden in numbers I had previously reserved only for a biblical plague. I try pinching. I try pepper. I try prayer. Nothing works. In less than forty-eight hours, the tiny insects decimate my kale and eat my arugula sprouts down to tiny nubs. I once fancied myself an agricultural educator, but here on the prairie I discover what a novice I really am. After the damage has already been done, I swallow my pride and ask around at school and at church.

Longtime residents reply to my inquiry with loving smirks.