Place Where You Live:

Montevallo Alabama

Replace, Misplace, Displace.


This place, a demarcation of memory; in turn a demarcation of time.


Through gardening, don’t I come to know this place, in all its beautiful peculiarities? Not as mine, but as me. Not separate from the boundaries I call memory, but rather a continuation of my identity. This ragged border begins in the perennial order of Spring, now gone to seed. These ragged memories blown and scattered, like dandelion. I am these wildflowers. Cardinal, Blanket, Wall and Straw. I am this arbor arched with antique roses, and if anything they own me. Won’t they know me by the dirt beneath my fingernails? I find it somehow apropos, that this same red soil (iron oxide) flows captured in the hemoglobin of my own life’s blood. Earth beneath my feet, earth within my veins, stark red with oxygen. This blood flows all across central Alabama, north through the foothills of the Appalachians and south to the Blackbelt, covered but present, all the way to the waters of the Gulf.


I originate in Texas, where if memory serves it seems, you’ll find this same red dirt. This same red identity. I was a gardener there, as well, and knew a similar beauty, peculiarities compared but just similar. Just after my move to Alabama, my eldest brother visited. Scuffing at the hardpan earth under boot, he wondered why I had determined to come so far (more than 600 miles) for so little in the way of change. It seemed emblematic to him, that same red clay. Those same low hills. That same verdant green stand of pine and all those unnamed things implied, the same.


I guess I should have explained the value of shaking off our Father’s dirt and walking blood similar but subtly peculiar to the soil of my veins.


To argue prefixes … 
Re; back, against, again, anew; 
Dis; apart, away. 
Mis; wrong; amiss. 
… seemed a waste of time, to me.


I’ve turned this earth and it’s turned me, though I’ll probably never come to know it. For though, it is ancient, and I am old; I am but a young gardener.