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.