In the Primitive Garden

I think I’m in the primitive garden.

That’s the name of this garden, a weird fairy hollow situated near the border of the weird fairy artist ranch where I’m staying in Tucson.

I am looking north. I can tell because the sun is at my back. In front of me there is a small trapezoidal fire grate set over a sunken pit surrounded by rocks. On my left is a carved metal screen with a scene of a coyote howling at the moon. I am sandwiched by saguaro.

I am sitting on a dried tree stump, dried to an impoverished shade of graybrown, and I notice I can hear the breeze ruffling the weird yellow Seuss-trees. It sounds very much like the whispering “yes” of wind moving through pines, my favorite sound from the mountains, my mountains in Colorado. Home.

The paper in my journal is wet and I have to sit for a minute.

I see a ton of these paddle cactus, with wayward filaments and errant long needles that reach through everything else. Prickly pear? They move into the light by going through shadows, by reaching under and through and around. They look so alien to me now, conditioned for almost a decade to the orderly oaks and stately sycamores of the Middle West.

I look at the fire grate again. I see something else green. Something small and spiky is growing in there, in dappled light. Sheltered by something someone else put here on purpose. This small, frondy, deciduous-looking, fragile thing isn’t supposed to be here. It’s supposed to be up, past the trail, in the sunlight. But here is where it found itself instead, shaded, and crouching under a rusted metal industrial covering.

Can it thrive here? Can it fully become the plant it was meant to be?

I sit for another minute and listen to the breathing trees. I get up, wheel around, and climb out of the fire-pit fairy garden hollow. I walk straight toward the sun.

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