This is the tree at the center of my back fence line in my backyard. My neighbor the landscape dude tells me it’s called a “Tulip Tree,” and I figure hey, it’s as good a name as any. It’s one of my favorite things in the backyard. My wonderful old dog Sam is buried under this tree, and every spring, it puts on a show of pink and white radiance that lifts my post-winter mood. I’ve been thinking of what other tattoos I need to get—I think one of these flowers needs to be inked on me somewhere to remind me how very, very much I love this tree, this yard, this house, our home.
My friend Rebecca (she of this post) tagged me in this photograph on Facebook recently. In March 1999, she, her now-husband, and eight or nine of our fellow Demon Deacons traveled with our church to Ireland. It was my first time leaving North America, only my second time in another country, and a wonderful, confusing, liberating time. I look at this photograph and don’t really recognize this kid—he was what the evangelicals call an “on-fire” Christian, deeply in love with Jesus and deeply, deeply confused about what that should and could look like in his life. I recognize him so little that I’m not even sure what I’d say to him if I had the chance.
I’ve been gardening in my backyard since 2008. Every spring, preparing the patch, tilling the soil, and filling it with seeds and good water is a source of great serenity for me. But every year, the grass takes over, weeding becomes a futile exercise, and eventually—sometime around early September, when everything ought to be going nuts—the whole thing goes to shit.
I’m hoping that will change this year. I’ve decided to do raised beds, landscape fabric—everything I can to keep the Bermuda grass at bay. Any other tips would be helpful, but either way, I’m hoping to have tomatoes like these maybe even into mid-October. It’s like everything else: Stop doing what doesn’t work, look for what does.
Every day with even moderately decent weather, I like to take a long walk around the Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City. Yesterday, after my two laps in the perfect lunch hour, I cut back through the Devon Tower to grab lunch then took a side alley back to my office. This was the view looking up from that alley, all business lines and sunshine. Seventies architecture was so soulless.
Yesterday was a tough day for a number of reasons. For one thing, there was this whole thing. Second, there were any number of work happenings and bad feelings and minor family catastrophes. None of it will stick; in five years, I won’t even remember most of it. But when my mom came over to my house at about 6 p.m., I poured each of us a little slug of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. I hardly drink at all any more, but yesterday was one of those kinds of days when fuck it.