It’s the summer solstice, and I’ve only just begun to harvest vegetables from my garden. A cold spring combined with more ambitious plans for raised garden beds made for late planting. Still, by the time we returned from California at the end of May delicate carrot tops were visible, the fingerling potatoes were in full leaf, and small spots of pale green promised salads a few weeks hence. We’re beginning to enjoy those salads now, without my having to feel I’ve been too impatient. Meanwhile, the poor spinach, caught between a late May planting and unexpectedly hot and humid weather at the beginning of June, is already bolting, flowering before we’ve eaten more than a few leaves.

But if we were in Tucson, I wouldn’t even expect to be eating fresh salad now. That would wait until fall, along with cabbages and kale. Instead I might be harvesting melons, tomatoes, corn, squash and peppers planted in early to mid-March. And chances are I’d be working in a community garden rather than trying to coax tomatoes from a patio container.

But just thinking that even in the desert I could tend a
garden makes me feel less rooted to our home here. It
bridges the domestic desires that my real garden feeds and
my lifelong hankering to be somewhere other than where I am. It’s dream gardening in the Land of Nod, where Cain settled — as well as someone condemned to ceaseless wandering can settle anywhere. The dream is to cycle through planting seasons as I move between a landscape with which I am infatuated and my own backyard.

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