Gardening is a way of life in my rural state. When I was a kid, Mrs. Cline had the best garden: acres of flowers that she just popped into the ground and they grew. All of it. There were little white flowers hidden under big red flowers, shrubs that had never been trimmed, trees a hundred years old, a riot of pink, royal purple, flax blue, and lavender. It took over the yard, and then there was the acre of veggie garden. She canned every bite. And it was good. All of that was perched on a little hill, under locust trees, and the patch work of fields of corn, alfalfa, and potatoes fell at our feet, like a hand-made quilt.
It's hard to explain to people who've never lived close to the land, the sweetness and peace that places like Mrs. Cline's foster. A summer morning. The blackbird chirp. The scent of hay. Of dirt.
So I went home a lot while my dad was still alive. One lovely summer night, we ate radishes out of the garden and shared a beer. I joked about not needing the car to get home.
He lived in a little town on the edge of nowhere. The next town south—of any size—was Reno, And there was the great American dessert in between. In my home town, there were four cross streets and two main streets than ran through town. One of those had a single parking meter. More of a joke, than a revenue source.
But there was big trouble brewing. A pot hole. It was huge and growing by the day.
Driving into town, I swerved to miss it. But when I left, I had no trouble spotting it. Somebody had planted a 12-foot tree, bagged roots and all in the hole. It was a magnificient feat, 12 feet of elm tree growing straight from concrete, smack in the middle of town.
Gardening. With. An. Attitude.