In Their Words: “I moved to the desert in ‘95 and bought a cabin that had been abandoned in the Landers earthquake. There was a water tank for delivered water, a pretty porch and a lot of stray debris in the yard — plus a number of broken aquariums scattered throughout the landscape!
“To make the place livable I hired a local legend by the name of John Edwards. He was a very talented carpenter and mind reader of the natural fauna and flora that live and grow in that high UV environment. One of his many lessons that stuck with me was his method of planting trees in the desert. Suffice it to say, the process of defeating the terrible raging Mojave’s desert sun with prized cool-down trees is rather complicated and labor intensive — and even requires some plumbing and trenching skills to redirect gray water lines.
“On many occasions, John proclaimed that the fruitless mulberry tree was the best for fast growth and significant shade — and that the black locust was an acceptable alternative. To prove his point he took me over to his family home to see his pride and joy: a giant Yucca Valley mulberry that covered his entire front yard, house and half the street.
“The black locust tree is in my mind the subject of this song because of the knowledge that was passed on during that not-forgotten reconstruction project. The black locust grows wild in the Owens Valley along the stream beds where we go camping in the summer to escape the heat. The general outlook of the song is one of starting a new life, building from scratch and hoping it all works out for the best.” — Mark Olson
Photo credit: Sandra Goodin