The Mountains are Calling

[The gardener] is in fact a wilderness advocate of a certain kind. It is when he respects and nurtures the wilderness of his soil and his plants that his garden seems to flourish most. Wildness, he has found, resides not only out there, but right here: in his soil, in his plants, even in himself...

But wildness is more a quality than a place, and though humans can't manufacture it, they can nourish and husband it...

The gardener cultivates wildness, but he does so carefully and respectfully, in full recognition of its mystery. 

Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener's Education

Despite our wanderings, at the core Badge and I are Idahoans: wilderness lovers and farm descendents and ardent devotees of pine-covered peaks.  It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a year and a half since we hiked and adventured through western mountains, but we are nothing if not adaptable and, as such, have been steadily amassing a promising plant population to fill the void until that sort of travel can be arranged. 

Texas winters really are a glorious thing and the opportunity to dirty our hands with planting season has made great strides to soothe our mountain-homesick hearts.  Interests being what they are, the edible seedling garden springing to life in our bay window is in my charge while Badge ensures the trees and flowering plants stay not only hydrated, but chatted up on a regular basis.  I don’t mind admitting we've become slightly crazed with the whole experience—each endeavor only leading to talk of the next terrace addition— but there are a great many things in this world worse than fanatic seed-planting and the regular piping of classical music through screen doors so I’m not overly concerned. 

The latest member of our leafy crew is a Satsuma orange tree given to us by the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department at their annual farmer's market tree adoption.  A late-night tip from a friend found me bright and early and slightly disheveled, in a long line listening to the Bulgarian woman ahead of me jovially instruct me in the use of pomegranates and growing seasons of Eastern Europe. 

Like a child in a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop I spent my hour-long wait eagerly reading and re-reading the list of offered trees, my mind spinning with the choice.  I finally settled on an orange—hoping by the time I arrived at the head table there would be one left.  To my Idahoan self citrus is something exotic and novel and, from what I’ve seen about town, sure to produce an impressive amount of return. 

Eventually I bounced away from the crowd, tree in arms and goofy grin plastered to my sleepy face.  I rang the doorbell when I arrived home and together, as a quirky little family, we gathered around our new tree, touching it's thin trunk and smelling the leaves.  We laughed and exclaimed and our mouths watered in anticipation as we dreamed of the fruit it would one day bear.

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There is magic in the wildness of a living thing.  We may be temporarily separated from our beloved Rockies, but the fortunate truth is that the same joy and peace and bonding can accompany a tray of seedlings, a family garden, and an adopted tree.