I don’t think any of us realized the magic of the backyard as children. We played loud rambunctious games by day and louder, wilder games after dark, by the light of just a few flashlights. Meanwhile, despite the risks posed by more than a dozen small feet and curious helping hands, my grandfather patiently cultivated the yard. Growing, growing, growing – while the small people that terrorized the yard grew, the garden grew too.
Tomatoes, zucchini, nasturtiums, sunflowers. I’m sure Grandpa grew other things through the years, but those four were permanent watchmen of the house and the Pacific ocean shining behind them in the distance.
And then, as all great art does, the backyard garden outlived its artist’s hand. Surviving the perils of small children, changing caretakers, unfamiliar neighbors, new freeways, building traffic, ever-expanding congestion – it’s still there, just behind the wooden fence. A few fruit trees have been added. Plants have been moved around. But little of substance has changed.
Tomatoes, zucchini, nasturtiums, sunflowers – the old guards are still there. And the Pacific ocean shining under the San Diego sun is still just down the street. Maybe there’s a metaphor buried here, a tale of art or beauty or time. But to me, the garden just means I’m home.