When my neighbor suffered a debilitating stroke, her husband ensconced her in an indoor greenhouse of sorts. I remember seeing her from our backyard patio: her feeble head poking up among a crowd of potted and hanging plants, grayish-white hair lost among a forest of green. Her extended porch hung out over the outdoor pool, and was walled in glass; the sun streamed in effortlessly, patiently basking her — she formerly had been a tireless jogger, and an avid gardener — in a glow, otherworldly. She had her beloved outdoors inside with her, in her lap, on her shelves, perimeter of glass and dream. As the suburbs re-created the natural world all around me, my neighbor re-created the natural world inside the unnatural world inside the suburban dream. Freedom, ownership, convenience, property line. The neighbors cleaned up the chemical seepage from their pool, although a small patch of our yard was scorched. And for a while my neighbor gingerly swam, the suburban fountain holding her aloft. I smiled, and looked the other way.
Photo courtesy of Suburbia Calling.