“Some people cart around their grandmother’s dishes from house to house. I carry around Marge’s perennials, which are tall and regal. They brighten the stand of lilacs I planted in homage to the secret garden of my youth — a cave-like bank of lilacs near the corner of my childhood home. There, I would plant myself amid the bushes, and write down copious notes about passersby, just like the main character from Harriet the Spy, and dream of becoming a writer.
Part heirloom and part journal entry, our plants not only connect us to the earth; they connect us to younger versions of ourselves. My giant cedar reminds me that it’s ok to take a break. I carted it home in the back of our Subaru — a great vehicle for plant hauling — from what my gardener friend and I called our annual “plant hooky” excursions. One Friday in early spring, we take the day off and hit as many nurseries as we can.
That cedar now towers over our front yard, providing shade for mom’s hydrangea and the background for all our family pictures, from the first day of kindergarten to the last day of college.”
“‘I don’t see myself leaving this place, ‘[Richard] Powers [author of The Overstory] says. ‘When I moved here, it was the first time ever as an adult that I’ve lived where I live.’ To belabor a tree metaphor, Powers finally feels rooted. The very architecture of his days has changed; they’re no longer built around his old thousand-word [a day] quota. They start, instead, like this: ‘I open the window, I check the temperature, or maybe I’ve been sleeping outside on the deck. I look at the sky, I look at the weather forecast. Where do I want to be? What’s goin on out there right now? Let’s go have a look. But usually what happens is I get out and walk around and then I have to get to the computer or to pen and paper because now the ideas are coming. So it may be that I make my thousand words anyway, but that’s not the day’s purpose.’
‘I just learn more and more about what’s out there, and about how absolutely astonishing and tenacious and inventive and resourceful and mind-boggling it all is. An then I just try to identify with that, and live among all those incredible neighbors.'”