Friday, August 7, 2015

"Sowing Beauty and Tranquility"


"Sowing Beauty and Tranquility"
During World War II, when America decided Japanese-Americans were not "American Enough", America shuffled them off to internment camps, Arizona became "home" for many.
Too bad for us; these were the same people who had fed us in their restaurants, did our laundry, grew food to feed the west, and followed their own American dream.
Many of those from California were sent to internment camps in Arizona. And like they always did, those Japanese families created beauty where there was none, maintaining their little government provided hovel to the extreme....setting up waste disposal, worship services, social clubs, schools for their children, building little koi ponds in their yard so that they might have a bit of tranquility amidst the chaos.
When the war was over some of them stayed in Arizona, there homes in California having been confiscated by the government, and having no home to go home to.

A few families simply walked up the highway south of Phoenix and made a new home. They leased little 40 acre plots and began to grow flowers, big colorful flower farms rising from the desert floor and filling the eyes of Arizona desert dwellers with wonder. And, at Christmas, or Easter, or Mother's Day, or for a special anniversary, locals could stop by one of the Japanese roadside flowers stands and buy a beautiful bouquet for a sweetheart for a couple of bucks. 
Soon, interstate travelers began to pass by. And they just had to stop and marvel at these colorful little Edens in the desert. One could actually feel the temperature drop ten degrees as arching irrigators threw precious water over those colorful fields.

From the 40's, all the way into the 80's, these little flower businesses thrived; their flowers soon began showing up on the dinner tables of folks on the east coast.
Alas, they were put out of business by the wholesale flower trade from South America in the late 80's. But for a time, for a long time, a few Japanese families, once scorned, showed how to create beauty and tranquility amidst a drought of humanity.

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