Sunday, April 16, 2017

grass

The two women took me on me on a tour of their city. I was travelling in the southwest USA and they were best friends.

"These are the best houses," they told me. "Where the rich people live."

I looked quickly for hints of amusement and deception, but could detect none. They were chattering and bickering with each other, as usual, casually admiring the homes, paying no notice to me in the back seat.

The houses looked worse than the poorest houses in Maine. Mud houses in dirt yards. Old wood fences around the perimeters. The houses were crowded together with short driveways and clear views to the neighbors. Small windows. Dirt houses in dirt yards. These were the best houses?

"There's the river," they pointed out.

I looked down into a long depression in the dirt.

"Dry now," they added, unnecessarily.

I thought of New England's best houses. Grand three storey clapboards, long windows with green shutters. White and yellow houses and green lawns, white picket fences. Long driveways, trees, and beds of bright flowers. Or the newer boxy places with lots of glass and fancy landscaping, a pool out back.

They can't even afford a lawn, I thought, ignorant, confused; not understanding the economics, environment, or culture. I thought again that it must be a trick. I thought I'd like to walk in the wild desert and feel nature in this strange place. 

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