I have recently started the experiment of transforming a Bermuda grass wasteland into a sanctuary of sorts.
Background: I set down roots in August 2004 in a part of Los Angeles referred to as “Mid City” on a property with a fairly large lot size for Los Angeles. For the first five years, I would hope that visitors would not wander far enough into the backyard to see my Bermuda grass wasteland, which was, alternatingly, yellow in the summer and waist-high in the winter. My double-fold excuse was always that (1) I had no time; and (2) all vegetation withered under my care. My daughter could tell you the story of the time she left her strawberries in my care for two weeks and came back to find withered brown leaves. I could also tell you about the time I killed an ivy given to me by a friend.
A change in circumstances, however, brought me to the wasteland when comfort herself called from the soil. A garden has grown out of grief, as well as the desire to document the seasons. Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of “before” but I did find one photo of a small piece of the backyard documenting my attempt to keep our kitty content indoors.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.