We're moving this week. And boy am I sick of takeout.
And I know soon enough the day will come when the boxes have been loaded and unloaded, packed and unpacked, everything will have found its new place in its new home, and I will finally be able to stand at my new stove and return to good food. But right now, that seems many takeout meals away. And that is a little upsetting to me. The frozen pizzas and jarred spaghetti sauces have turned me into a bit of a zombie.
Which is probably why I somehow missed the miracle happening right in my own (new) backyard.
When I first looked at the house we ended up renting, it was a rainy day. It was the 15th house I'd looked at in a week, and everything was starting to blur together. I remember looking at the backyard and thinking: Meh, it will do. At least there's a pool.
So this weekend, when we were loading in some of our items and the sun was shining in that California way, and I walked around the neglected beds and gazed up at the ancient trees, I was shocked, SHOCKED at all that I had missed.
Before I tell you what I found, I want to clarify that I am not rich, or privileged. I am simply a Californian, and we are a fortunate, spoiled bunch. The garden I have is shockingly typical for a 50's house in Southern California. And that, dear readers, is the miracle.
In my typical backyard, I found dozens of lilies waiting for spring. I found roses, in every color and size, and so fragrant you need not bend toward it to smell its perfume.
I found Birds of Paradise, strong and regal and peacock-like.
There is bougainvillea, daisies, and trees as high as the sky.
But that's not the miracle.
The miracle is that we have a TROPICAL FRUIT GARDEN in our very own backyard.
There is a pomegranate tree, banana trees, an avocado tree, a mango tree...
Several citrus trees, including grapefruit and lemon...
A long, lone grape vine...
And a cherimoya tree full of knobby infant fruit...
As my mom pointed out, it is like I unlocked my own Secret Garden, except that the garden happens to be full of tropical fruits. It needs some pruning and a lot of love, but I seem to have an abundance of that these days. So we're a good fit, this garden and I.
I will be planting an epic herb garden as soon as we're settled, and I can't wait to waddle out to my back yard and forage for treats.
In the meantime, do me a favor. Cook something. Do it for me. There are few things as important to me, as romantic, as powerful as the soul-satisfying process of preparing food. I'll think about you, all snug in your kitchens, the aromas and flavors filling your home, as I call in my takeout order tonight. And I will think of the garden, and know this will all be worth it.