The summer I returned from teaching English in Japan, my Grandmother bought me a spark-blue 1991 Isuzu Amigo with retractable canvas top and on-demand four-wheel drive.
Two months after I visited Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I went to Salt Lake City, in Utah, to give a reading. The reading was held at a gallery called the Art Barn, a handsome space whose walls were hung with photographs taken on a variety of themes and, if memory serves, using a variety of approaches.
My job that afternoon was to rake leaves for an elderly couple who lived a few miles away from my Grandmothers farm in central Indiana. They had half a dozen elephant oaks, each one of them a monster, some big shag-bark hickory and a giant maple with pretty red leaves.