One summer, my parents, my brother, my cat, and I, spent a few weeks in Fundie National Park. I decided, very quickly, that it had to be the most beautiful and enchanting place I had ever seen.
I live in a desert, though we have green and rain, both of those things are brief, seasonal, and quick to fade in the sun and heat. Coaxing life out of dry, packed culiche, is time consuming and requires massive amounts of work and a tolerance for sky-high water bills.
Fundie was bursting with fertility. Everywhere there was damp and green, with wild berries of all kinds, bursting with flavor and life. It was there that I tasted my very first wild strawberry. It was about the size of the nail on my little finger, but it burst with sweet sunshine across my tongue. It was both shockingly sweet and deliciously tart, so much flavor packed into such a tiny object.
That summer I picked berries of all kinds, from blackberries to gooseberries, to wild blueberries and tiny, sharp wild cranberries. Sorrel provided a peppery counterpart to all the berries. The overabundance of life, and sensory experiences, swept me away.
I was in love.
My cat and I would go hiking in the woods together, him marching along in his harness and leash, drawing attention wherever he went. Dogs were no match for him, he would not be intimidated.
He had absolutely no interest in berries, though he did enjoy sorrel.
I think that all my definitions of paradise changed that summer. Since that time, it has been a fertile, living, breathing land of green abundance.
It is my Heaven, my Fairyland, my Dream.