We are in a good place. I'm talking about our home, and the time we spend together, here. Our home is on a wonderful street, in a comfortable neighborhood. It's pretty here, convenient, too. I am thinking of our community, our resources, that it's possible, even likely, that I will see a friend in the market, at the park, that I will recognize that kid skate boarding home. We have good schools, and good places to enjoy our free time, and we have good ideals, which is important, because things can be better. We should want things to be better, for everyone. I love Southern California, all of California, really. And never mind my grousing about the weather, that's just therapeutic, blowing off steam. I do wish it would rain, and I do love the idea of a White Christmas, of falling leaves, and a brisk Wisconsin kind of autumn, but there is more than enough to make me happy, to keep me happy here, and besides, I think I enjoy the feeling of longing for other places, of having something just out of reach, beautiful to daydream about.
Maria and I sat at the playground, waiting for the long stream of cars leaving school to wind down, watching the thunderheads build and collapse, fill the sky with their summer show. Maria glanced over her shoulder to where her garden teacher was pulling a wagon up to the school kitchen. "I'd like an excuse to go say 'hello' to everyone in the kitchen," she confided. "Let's go," I replied. "Come on, then. We can say 'hello,' or thank them for the green goddess dressing recipe you made in class." She didn't need too much encouragement. Ms. Snaake was getting help from Adrian, unloading a fresh harvest from the school garden. Everything was going into basins and bowls, getting double rinsed, then sorted. A few apples, passion fruit, some strawberry guavas, and pineapple guavas. A lot of pineapple guavas, actually. Also zucchini and squash, even tiny cucumbers that look like watermelons. The eggplants are still producing, but the shiny fruit is getting smaller as the season wanes. Maria asked if she could stay and help. Adrian and Maria worked side by side, in the slimmest stretch of shade outside the kitchen. I think the spray from the industrial sink must have felt delicious. They worked diligently, no horsing around. Bowl after bowl of fresh produce was cleaned and readied for snacks and cooking lessons. Every class in the school works in the garden, and kitchen. Soon, after-school cooking classes will start up again, and the Junior Master Gardeners will be meeting. Maria is looking forward to both of these. Adrian spent an evening every week of his summer helping in the garden. When this job was done, Ms Snaake and Ms S invited Maria and Adrain into the kitchen and they were offered bags to fill with thank you produce.