Neither Here nor There

We're officially gone from California, but we have yet to set foot on Texas soil. In the mean time we're hanging out in my parent's home in Arizona. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) The limbo is a little strange in some ways (no library cards for residents of nowhere), but for the most part we're having a blast. Mom and Dad aren't here right now, but my sister is, and we're having fun together.

And, oh my goodness, the HOUSE! I'd sort of forgotten what it's like to live in a HOUSE. With a YARD. Suddenly, my life is not consummed with preventing my children from doing developmentally appropriate and important things that just so happen to be very much destructive in the small space. Now if they're being destructive or just plain in the way, it's a simple matter to direct them toward another equally attractive activity--preferably outside in that lovely back yard.

Speaking of the back yard, it's been a matter of contention in the Palmer family for a very long time. You see, my mom, sister and I really really wanted a nice lawn and pretty garden. My dad wanted to cover the whole thing over with gravel. We prevailed, and preserved our precious lawn. Or, at least, the closest thing possible when you live in Arizona, and are gone for well over half the year. Year after year, the ratios of grass to weeds fluctuated, but at least we had something green, and we always prevented Daddy from covering it in gravel.

Until this past year. I'm not quite sure what happened, but somehow an agreement was struck, and Daddy had his way. The back yard is now covered in gravel.

And it's gorgeous. I should have known that Daddy's plan wasn't for a hideous, unbroken expanse of gravel. Daddy may not have lots of time for lawn maintainance, but he does have a superb eye for proportion and good composition, a strong aesthetic sense, and good taste. They now have an attractively ordered desert landscape, with pampas grass and yucca and mesquite and honeysuckle and mint. Most of these are local plants that volunteered--and since they are in their proper environment, they thrive quite nicely with minimal care. It's a lovely, restful place, alive with birdsong, joyous and vibrant and peaceful.

I can't believe we fought him for so long.

And I think that surely there must be a lesson somewhere in there.

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