Today I put my gardening skills to work at Ali’s farm. I spent the morning weeding and pulling out lettuce that bolted, most of it done on my hands and knees getting that black New England soil under my fingernails and pores of my exposed skin.

jay tilling

Later in the day, Ali and I rode the motorcycle up to the community garden in the Shelton Hills to pick flowers for her floral arrangements. I do not mind getting my hands dirty, to me it’s a pleasure to smell that rich earth mixed with the scent of flowers coming into bloom while watching bluebirds and Monarch butterflies flying about the garden and field doing their thing.

Connecticut is a beautiful state, it’s where I was born, my parents and some of my sisters live here, it’s rich in colonial history, rivers which were polluted during the industrial days of the 19th and 20th century are now clean with Atlantic salmon and trout swimming up from Long Island sound to the river’s source. I thought I would never see the day a flyfisherman standing midstream in the Naugatuck river, fishing!  Friends ask me if I could come back and live in Connecticut, my reply is “maybe in the summer” but I just can’t handle those long cold bleak winters, California has spoiled me. 

Spending time here in the Nutmeg state is a bit emotional full of memories, some good some bad, seeing the old places, schools, homes, and friends, some of them I haven’t seen in 60 years. Everything looks smaller, fields of my youth are now neighborhoods, trees have grown along the highways and country roads, places become unrecognizable or just disappeared into confused memories. Memories of my youth, they’re good memories or at least I choose to only remember the good times forgetting the bad. I think that’s why I like California so much, it’s a place for the future, tomorrow land, maybe a little “Layla land”.

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