My mother talks to plants. I’ve heard her coo to dinner plate-sized peony blossoms, thanking them, as if they put on the show just for her. Walking the garden path towards the assisted living facility where she now lives, I imagine what she would say to the landscaping. Most likely it would be “you poor, poor thing,” her hand gently caressing a juniper ruthlessly clipped into a soldiers-at-attention cone. I pass under a lollipop-shaped birch tree, its boughs tortured into an immobile sphere, and recall her once staring in awe at her own garden, pointing to the branches of a Japanese maple swaying in the breeze, asking me to stand beside her and see how the light flickered through its crimson leaves. For more, click download button above!