“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it.”
I grew up on the Pacific shore bathed in a swirling mélange of earthy aromas, briny sea mist, beach kelp, weathered driftwood, live crab boiling in pots on creosote soaked docks, and the smell of prolonged dampness that permeated every living thing. Brightly colored nasturtiums, seemingly the only flower that survived in the sandy soil, sprung up ubiquitously in yards and planters. An ambitious gardener might have daffodils and calla lilies struggling in a border strip around a scrubby patch of grass, but that was the extent of coastal cultivation in a landscape where skunk cabbage, Scotch broom, salal and moss held sway over the land.
Our regular excursions to “the Valley” to visit relatives were like incredible journeys, visitations to an enchanting world replete with verdant fields and flowering trees and plants and flowers of every sort and variety that filled the air with a soul caressing redolence which gently lingered in the stillness of the valley air. The tidy patchwork of farm fields, symmetry of tree lined streets and ordered planning of nature expressed in the multitude of fastidiously tended gardens resonated deep within me giving way to a life-long appreciation of the capacity of nature, to influence and enhance human experience.