The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

Plant a radish get a radish

How lucky and lovely to visit a daughter who is getting a PhD in 18th century literature and bakes lovey blueberry pies and kale and avacado quiches and other things AND blogs about pies and rolls and grad school and words.

How lovely to laugh over lousy Scrabble draws and to be beaten almost every time and not mind a twig because it reminds one of how lucky it is to have a smart and wordy daughter.

Sometimes life hands us a q with no u and no memory of the words that can be made without a u.

Sometimes life hands us an x and a triple word spot to play it.

How lovely to see one’s daughter’s ginormous back deck and the racoon that lives under it when it comes out to have a staring match with the cat and then saunter off.

The cat did not appear to feel fierce about letting its territory be walked upon or even completely romped and stomped by raccoon visitors.  Cat visitors were another story.  But it was summer time in Indiana, so my daughter watched her cat and another lay on the deck growling at each other, apparently too hot and hairyto get up and move a muscle of defense.

How lucky to have a daughter who creates a deck garden using aluminum cans.

How lucky to return home to cool weather and the scent of rain and damp earth in the garden.  The tree that was a stick



its leaves and waves them like a wild hairdo against the sky.

In droughtly summer, we’ll have to offer it 10-15 gallons of water a week to drink.

But not now.

Now it’s a bold and enthusiastic pioneer to the Oregon territories and this new neighborhood that will someday love its shady self.

The sunflowers begin to grow crowns, shyly trying them on and getting ready to prance out in public all yellow and gold-headed.

The stonecrop may welcome drought but right now it also revels in the rain.


The garden also has reds.



Colors of foilage I don’t ever remember seeing in Ethiopia but that pop up everywhere in Portland.

The garden has thyme.

Everyone knows what time does, but I spot no flying thyme in nurseries as I read plant labels.  Creeping thyme, though?


Thyme creeps. 

Thyme fills the hanging basket with wooliness and spills over the sides and crawls up the garden wall and sends wily tendrils forward into the dirt.

Oregano behaves outrageously.

I find it everywhere it doesn’t belong and sometimes, worn down by its stubborn assumptions, I sigh and let it stay.

Last summer, I planted herbs and have been eatng basil and parsley and slightly soapy cilantro.  The edibles add up.



Berries blue and black.

Tomatoes green and black and pink.

What a wealth will grace our bowls someday when more rain has come and more sun and more lucky, lucky time has crept down the path dragging life behind it.

So children and books and gardens grow.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.