Austin has had an exceptional* rainy season. Besides the full-bodied trees and the flashes of color blanketing the roadside (Thank you Lady Bird), many Century Plants have been in full bloom. Their stalks are proud with patches of vibrant yellow flowers. Gadora’s Grandmother’s house boasted a gargantuan Century Plant. And it utterly mesmerized me.
It was so out-of-place at her house, I remember thinking—I don’t recall there being another anywhere around. Hers was a Southern yard. Several stately Oak trees canopied the drive. A hearty row of bushes between her house and Uncle P’s provided plenty of fort-like excursions for we imaginative country kids. There was the spindly tree that bloomed the greenest figs. That is still my favorite color. And there was that Century Plant,** snugged so tight to the house I thought it might uproot it.
There was something magical about the way it unfolded, and those little needle marks left on the leaf closest. I’d run my hands up and down its soft, dense leaf-like appendages and play chicken with its quills. It stood taller than me. A Century Plant. It grows a hundred years. That’s like… forever. I thought.