Sunday, October 17, 2010

Funky Town

We live in a funky little town. For many years it was fairly isolated, with only a ferry across from Marin and a two-lane road coming in from El Cerrito and points south. In those years, it was a railhead on the town side of the hill (it still is, complete with train whistles and backups when the trains are a-building) and a sort of hippie-artist-vacation retreat on the bay side with little summer cottages and wacky, unplanned houses that look homemade.

When the bridge was built to Marin and the freeway both connected us to the rest of the world and cut us off from the larger city of Richmond, our town changed. Newer houses were sandwiched in between the older cottages as, one by one, all the lots were filled. From unheated summer cottages to McMansions with hot tubs in the bathrooms - we have them all now. The town has never lost its funky character, however, and the people here are still refugees from the Establishment. Weeds go unpulled, trees grow willy-nilly, and people don't judge each other on the neatness of their properties.

Few people actually cultivate a garden - mostly, we are happy to accept the volunteers that spring up and, if they are pretty, to encourage them. Some folks do have planned gardens, but they are the exception rather than the rule, and even they tend to weeds amongst the cultivars. Even the food gardens are a little haphazard with weeds rampant between the rows.

Every now and then as I walk around the streets, I am stopped in my tracks by a scene like this - impossibly purple morning glories growing up and around impossibly orange pyracantha berries accented against an incredibly blue sky. If I put that on a postcard, you'd swear I had touched it up.

In a few weeks, the robins will come through and strip the pyracantha of its berries and the morning glories will fade until next spring. An earnest gardener probably would have discouraged the morning glories from overwhelming the pyracantha; I'm grateful that I live in a funky town where benign neglect allows such amazements to happen.


Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Pyra = "fire."
Cantha = "thorn."

Lovely, psychedelic picture! Is it true robins eat the berries? Because we don't get much eatage of the bushes hanging over my fence. (And, BTW, that same neighbor is responsible for the morning glories growing over the fence, but they are far apart and don't intertwine.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010  
Blogger kudzu said...

Love your thoughts on the town and the flora. I was musing on morningglories yesterday, thinking of how they were in full bloom from early summer when I lived in the South; here, they seem to burst forth at the end of the season, into the fall. And that would explain why we often see them in Japanese flower paintings of autumn. Hmm.

Sunday, October 17, 2010  
Blogger namastenancy said...

What a lovely tribute and what a gorgeous photo - but then, you know that I think your house is the closest to my ideal place that I've ever seen. The place just emanates peace and joy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010  
Blogger Ms Brown Mouse said...

Your town sounds like my kind of town, nice to know 'uncultivated' free-range gardens are still welcome somewhere in the world!

Sunday, October 17, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, I knew the pyra part but not the cantha - interesting. And, yes, our robins do like the berries very much.

Kudzu, the morning glories are particularly welcome now when the spring and summer flowers have faded. Some people thing they are pesky but I love them for their color.

Nancy, I'm glad you feel it, too.

Ms Mouse, I think you'd love it here. Next time you come, we must bring you out of the city for a dinner or a something.

Monday, October 18, 2010  
Blogger katiez said...

I would love your town!!!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

KatieZ, and I think I'd love yours!

Thursday, October 21, 2010  

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