Day 6: Childhood in the garden

Today's prompt from @anndeecandy:
Write about the flowers and plants and trees of your youth. Write about pulling weeds and digging holes and touching sap. Write about blowing dandelions and smelling roses and getting rashes. Write about picking tomatoes, walking through wildflowers and whacking through forests. 

My childhood in the garden is quite unique because I grew up in the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona. While we did have a lawn in our backyard, our house was on the northern edge of our town (back then it was the edge and a town) and the land around our house looked very much like the photo above.

Behind our house was a giant saguaro which stood at the top of a small ravine. At the bottom of the ravine ran the wash - a dry creek bed which only runs with water after a heavy monsoon or winter storm. The saguaro was peppered with holes occupied by birds; we called it a bird apartment building.

My brothers and I built forts under the palo verde trees going down to the wash. We also played all around our house, amongst different kinds of cactus, like cholla, ocotillo and prickly pear.

In our front yard was another, larger palo verde tree. In springtime, this tree would explode in tiny yellow blooms, like a bright umbrella in front of our house. 

While I played in this exotic landscape, I dreamed of somewhere "cool and green and shady" (that's from an old John Denver song we listened to growing up. When we visited family in upstate New York for the first time when I was 11 years old, I had finally come to the kind of place that was only real to me in books. Tall green trees, lush grass, a shaded, overgrown path leading down to a pond with a row boat. What?! Had I just entered one of my childhood books? It was a dream come true. 

Later, in college and beyond, when I found myself living for good in a place cool and green and shady, I still could not get over my good fortune.

I still love the desert and it will always be a part of my home - hot and brown and dusty green and with shade a precious commodity.


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