Yesterday I returned from 12 days in California visiting family and friends. It was my first time back there since I moved to New Mexico in March. It’s amazing how just a few short months can completely change your view of the world.

First there was the water, flying into Oakland airport over the bay, lunching in Pacifica, spending an afternoon in Santa Cruz at a house that sat right on the beach… I had forgotten how the water just hangs in the air, suspended like mist even on the clearest day. I had forgotten the soft hands and the wild curls that I used to have before moving here. But mostly I had forgotten the riotousness of the gardens, the colors, the rich, wild scent of it, the abundance. I, who lived my whole life in that place, had begun to believe it was all a dream.

But there I was awake in my mother’s back yard, the one I learned to garden in, surrounded by an apple tree heavy with young fruit, rhubarb plants with leaves as broad as manhole covers, tomato plants peppered with yellow shooting-star flowers and the round, green beginnings of a rich bounty to come. It was glorious to bask in the colors, the textures of wide leaves, to stand barefoot in damp grass.

But the truth is, I missed these wide skies, the hummingbirds and rabbits outside my window, and the sheer force of will and determination that permeates desert gardens and the people who grow them.

2 Replies to “Opulence”

  1. How lovely to find you online, Lauren, in a link from my Upaya newsletter. Where I live in zone 17, we have water this year, but not much sun. Last month Mom and I took all of the seeds we had hanging around and planted them: carrots, butternut squash, basil, radishes, chiles, green onions, miscellaneous flowers. I practiced by watering them everyday, sprinkling gray water through my hands. I had all but given up on the chiles when I spotted the first green sprout two days ago — now just the carrots are holding out…

  2. Hi Sharyn! It was so great of them to include me in their newsletter. I love Upaya.

    I was amazed how green it was out there in the Bay Area last week. Your garden sounds wonderful. I am really missing that.

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