Any Backyard Will Do

The summer came on early, raising our May temperatures into the 90s, and soaking every hopeful twig and root with zone 5 rainfall.  The tomatoes and I love it.  The trees don’t know what to do with themselves, pouring out leaves like the sky’s the limit, and there was an inflorescence of spirea this year like nothing I can remember.

I invited myself into someone’s backyard to take this picture, while I was walking around my old neighborhood – a curlicue of streets that go nowhere, lined with unremarkable ranch homes gussied up by their young, trendy owners with all the midcentury touches the previous generation was too tight to bother with.  The neighbor seemed suspicious of me as I stalked across the grass toward this glorious, disheveled creature draped behind the garage.  Introducing myself only made it worse.  She furrowed her eyebrows at me and retreated to a safe distance, not eager to make friends.

I suppose I am an odd duck, in my orange floppy hat and long sleeves, sweaty and smiling for no apparent reason.  But I’ve become so accustomed to invisibility – as every middle aged woman does – that I’m sure I can go anywhere, really, completely unremarked.  “Oh, I just thought she was your grandmother!” they’d surely say, as I make off with the loot.

I have been making this picture over and over again, ever since spring broke out along branches and side streets and the green open edges that meet every human habitat here.  Any backyard will do. I suppose I am looking for the open place where you can see into the heart of what’s growing.  Yes, that is it.  The open place.  I’m sure of it.


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