Sunday, June 28, 2009


Back from a week away, the dog and I took a walk around the neighborhood to see what's new. I noticed right away that the Golden Rain trees are a bit past their bloom and dropping their tiny flowers in bright yellow puddles beneath their boughs. This is another tree that reminds me of my grandmother-- they grew tall and shady in her backyard, and when she died, my aunt pulled a seedling from a crack in the patio and planted it in her own garden. Years later, when they were reviled as "trash trees" by the person I loved, my eyes fell, and I felt my face go stony with disloyalty when I did not speak up to defend them.

One of my neighbors has a sweet little gardenia flowering by her door. I stopped earlier today to smell one of the fragrant blossoms and was sad to see that it was gone when I went by again this afternoon. That's the thing about common landscaping: some people act as if it's theirs alone. Another of our neighbors regularly cuts luxurious bouquets of day lilies from their beds. That doesn't seem right to me.

The strangest thing I noticed today, though, was that scattered all over the complex in odd beds here and there are some huge squash vines. They are flowering but no fruit has set, so it's hard to say exactly what they are. My theory as to how they got here involves free mulch from the county that probably never got hot enough to kill any stray seeds, but I also favor the notion of some kind of modern-day Johnny Squashseed hijacking our well-manicured condo gardens to cultivate some seasonal local produce. Such an act of renegade sowing might provide a nice counterbalance to those who reap without regard for the rest of us.

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