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Lions Roar : March 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2007 78 of bare yard, the only place in town where the weeds were al- lowed to grow. Mornings I’d sit on its cracked asphalt patio; I was certain no one would buy this house under the cool shade of a hawthorn. Eventually I found another refuge, the huge live oaks and white oaks, some of them three hundred years old, looming in yards and bursting out of the concrete sidewalks. All of them were alive before this town was here. I became friends with eight of them and visited daily, begging for answers. What was I doing in this sanitary white place? My deepest connection was with one tree dwarfing a two-story Tudor house on Coleridge. How I loved that the street had the name of a writer. The oak’s roots were so big they dominated the lawn. No human could own this wild animal of a tree, nor plant flowers around it. Flowers needed ground water and this only a pen, a notebook, and thirty years of sitting practice under my ever-widening belt. Now here I was with young programmers who ate pink icing, and my future was dependent on them. Would we ever leave this expensive hovel? SLOWLY I REGAINED my health and walked the dense streets. March in California—no one tells you this—is the most gorgeous of all months. Everything is blooming and opulent. After living so many years in arid New Mexico, how do I take it all in? Just one branch of one rose bush—and there were often hundreds in one yard—held eighteen perfect flowers. The pinks, the reds, the yellows. What could root me in this abundance? What had hap- pened to my America, to the small, empty towns I loved? I wanted to liberate the little yellow stucco house and its patch The Great Oak