Room E29 at Sacramento High School is lively and slightly messy. Alumna Alicia Alves is presiding over a fragrant pot of pizza sauce simmering on a hot plate. There are dishes in the sink, colorful displays on the walls, and the floor could use a scrub. Steps to make macaroni and cheese, with a potato chip topping, are printed on a whiteboard. Three former students—the entrepreneurs behind Sangre Del Dragon—carry in boxes filled with hot sauce and sit down to a meal from Carl’s Jr. Over the PA system, someone announces free pizza in the library. A student wanders in from another classroom in search of warm water. Other students come and go.
The number of enthusiastic people who showed up in the sticky heat for Flourish Farm’s first U-pick event in West Sacramento a few months ago astonished owner Laurie Gates. She doesn’t know how many attended; she was busy handing out containers, reminding people to put their flowers in water, and making change.
I noticed her about a week ago, holding on by a thin strand between the truck’s mirror and the driver’s side door. She is a tiny tightrope walker with spindly legs. The spider is the color of a golden raisin—an earthy tone that makes her seem less spider-like.
I woke to the sound of rain this morning. I listened to it filter through the leaves of the redwood, oak, and maple trees outside the window and watched it cascade off the roof tiles and into the gutter below. I pictured the immature trees the city recently planted in our neighborhood and wondered how many will survive the winter. They are twigs right now, babies really, insubstantial and frail.