I thought it would be a nice time to revisit the ghost pig and see how he was doing. He’s got a bit of indigestion. It’s ok. He’ll be fine.

Yesterday we had some much-needed yard work done, and our backyard mesquite tree got quite the haircut. It had been hanging in a canopy over a large part of thee yard, and now it’s young and pert, with a Beatle-like mop top. There was a monsoon the other day (well, the wind and thunder part, anyway; it did rain, but not enormously), and the whole time I was afraid that the heavy, one-sided canopy would pull the tree over—many trees in our neighborhood did fall during that storm. But ours didn’t. I hope its new pop-musical styling helps it to survive.

My fear during that storm reminded me of the years when our roof kept leaking. How the summer’s greatest pleasure, in the desert, is a heavy monsoon, the kind that runs rivers down the roadside, floods right up to your front door and then recedes, leaving the outside smelling tropical as all the sweet mesquite pods rot. And I, hungry for this rain, could not enjoy it, because it kept leaking down the walls and dripping onto our books and threatening to collapse the ceiling. I felt so unsafe, like modern life itself was an illusion, and it is, but I didn’t want to learn it by having the paint peel every summer.

My family is going through a hard time (not my Dave-and-Paul family, we’re fine, though affected) and I don’t know what to do about it. That roof is leaking too, and perhaps will have to be replaced, and it’s too exhausting for me to come up with a more subtle metaphor. Sometimes it’s all very straightforward. The water is streaming down the walls. It is glistening in a place it was never meant to be, where there is nothing for it to grow, only things to consume.

Little rabbits come into our front yard and nose nervously through the palm fronds. The pomegranate is thriving, now that the mesquite isn’t choking it out. The cactuses are insidious in a way I like; they practically cannot be killed. If you cut one down and let it lie, it will simply put down roots and grow from there. It understands survival. I thought we all did, that we had mechanisms, some better, some worse, some bringing their own problems along, but all of them keyed towards future life. I don’t know. Sorry to be mopey. There are good things in the world, too, like this and this.

I’m thinking about getting a bonsai tree, to see if I can make it look cliff-blown. A tree made to look enormous and sublime, while being kept small and precise through rigorous control; I hesitate to approach that metaphorically. But it’s too hot to garden, and I’m deeply pleased each time my indoor fig grows a leaf. Leaf at a time, this life, leaf at a time.