Grow Where You are Planted


My daughter tells me I am bordering on melancholy this week. So here’s something more uplifting.

Grow where you are planted… Anyone who knows me well knows that this saying doesn’t seem to apply to me. I long to live where it’s green, rainy and cool. Yet here I am well over 25 years, in the dry, hot desert.

Have you ever driven the I17 interstate? It’s a pretty straight road that connects the low valley of Phoenix to the high mountains of Flagstaff. I used to love driving it in the spring when I was at NAU. I would leave snowy winter in Flag and as the altitude dropped enter a desert, that in the spring was green and growing. Typical of Arizona the sun would be shining most of the time…although, I do remember having to detour through Black Canyon City because the highway bridge was closed when the normally dry washes were at 100 year flood levels… But I digress–that’s a story for another day.

When you are heading south on I17 you drive across a fairly flat stretch before a dramatic drop down into the Black Canyon. The turns on this steep stretch may not be hairpin but the unsuspecting traveler is generally frightened enough to ride the brakes all the way down. It’s exciting enough for me…and I’m used to it.

So, as you make the first big turn, if you are in the left lane you are right against the mountain. Each spring when I would drive through I would see it growing in the gravel and rock of the hillside. I couldn’t help but notice it, bright pink against the desert background and so very out of place. It was a peach tree with beautiful pink blossoms. Someone must have tossed the pit out as they were driving and against all odds it grew. Through spring into the hot summer and then the crazy Arizona winters it grew. Year after year I watched it grow. It was just amazing to see something this crazy tree on the hillside.

If it’s not in bloom it’s hard to spot. And if you’re driving it’s even harder…I don’t actually recommend looking if you are the driver and careening down the hill at 70+ mph. Just take my word.

So when I start to think about moving to Widby Island in Washington or Grants Pass, Oregon (which coincidentally happens when the temperature reaches 100+ here) I remember that peach tree. What are the chances that it could not only grow but bloom where it was planted?

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