Spring is here!

March 12, 2016

The past several days have been amazing. Temps have been in the 70s and El Nino storms have brought some of the clearest skies I have seen since I have been here — to a part of the country that has some of the highest levels of air pollution. Snow dusts the mountains and the foothills are green.

I may have mentioned that there is a fairly large horticulture operation here. It’s the great Central Valley after all: America’s breadbasket! Inmates plant and harvest several crops that are then donated to local needy organizations. In addition, over time, enterprising inmates have created small perennial gardens and ponds that current inmates maintain.

Because I am currently taking a class in viticulture, I have the opportunity to spend a couple hours per week out in the horticulture area working on the grapevines which needed a lot of help! It is one of my favorite parts of the week because when you are out there, you can forget you are in prison.

Right now, all the flowers are in bloom. There are several beds of baby ice plant that are completely covered with brilliant purple flowers. It is so surreal, it’s like something out of the Wizard of Oz! This part of California is often referred to as the “armpit” but I’m tellin’ ya, it has some freakin’ great soil! I so appreciate what is right in front of me.

And you also know that I am taking a poetry class which I am really enjoying. After the time I spent in horticulture yesterday, I was inspired to write a poem about it. I’m going to go out on a limb here and share it with you. Be gentle! I’m new at this!

Spring in Camp

Bursting carpets of flowers
Bright blooms of magenta
Electrify and soothe
Is this prison?

Snow dusted emerald mountains
Worry waits but has no audience
Red dragonflies carry secrets
Distant love on their wings

New growth springs from gnarled roots
Grateful for the care
Coaxing sweet grapes from rich soil
My tiny contribution seeps in

A bright big goldfish bubbles up
Bringing bliss, bringing calm
Beauty is where I look
A piece of paradise in prison

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