I’ve been looking after a friend’s place while she’s away. Every other day I water one of her trees. While I wait for the water to seep into the parched earth, I sit on her porch. I bring the same magazine, day after day, and re-read it from cover to cover. (I’m afraid of changing magazines, because I love this one that I’ve been reading, and it’s now tied so closely with the magical experience of sitting on my friend’s porch that I’m afraid of jinxing things by changing even one element.)
The local papers have been full of stories lately about how desperately the city’s trees need to be watered. We’ve had a hot, dry and stressful summer for trees, and homeowners can help young or vulnerable trees survive by watering them regularly.
As much as I love trees, and as important as I think tress are for our landscape (after all, the area where I live was once covered in deciduous forest before the European settlers came), it pains me to think of a landscape that can no longer take care of itself. Knowing nothing about xeroscaping, I am nevertheless intrigued by vegetation that can fend for itself, no matter what the local conditions.
Regardless, I am watering some trees lately, for a friend who is away. Like many similar activities – housekeeping, cooking, child- and pet-minding – I love the quality of care-giving that’s required. It feels good to contribute to something other than me.