Down To Earth: Sarah's Imagination, My Inspiration

| February/March 2007

  • Illustration by Brian Orr

A year ago I was just out of the hospital after a kidney transplant. It was February, the time of year when I normally would be planting potatoes, peas, onions, poppies and cilantro. Not yet able to travel, I was staying with my cousins, Bill and Laveta, in Kansas City, Missouri.

My bedroom looked out on their back yard and over into their neighbors’ yard. The winter was mild and I was feeling the urge to garden again.

One day I noticed a bit of earth that someone had dug up in the neighbors’ back yard. This was not the red clay and rocky soil found in the Ozarks where I live, but the black, rich soil of the area where the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails began.

I mentioned the dug-up patch of earth to my cousins, saying the neighbor must be anxious for the garden season to begin.

“Oh, no,” Bill said. “That’s Sarah, our neighbor’s granddaughter. She goes outside and digs every time they let her out to play.”

When I inquired about Sarah age, I was completely surprised by Bill’s answer.

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