There is an abandoned apple orchard on the road into Verona, on the grounds of the old County Home, which was razed last fall. About a dozen trees linger there, covered in gypsy moth tents, each sprinkled with only as many blooms as serves its own inscrutable purposes; apples for apples-sake. The contractor’s mobile office is parked at the edge of the first row, overseeing the construction of someplace newer, cleaner, saner.
Up the crumbling asphalt path, a ways behind the orchard, the bird songs are plentiful and varied. Here is the edge of the prairie preserve; unquestionably the air belongs to them. If you follow this path a little further, you emerge back in civilization, at the driveway of Farm and Fleet, heralded by a distant loudspeaker calling the team roster at the softball park across 4 busy lanes.
Stranded among the bird song, beyond the fruit tree sanctuary, something was growing I had never seen before: a rosebud tree.