Make the Most of What’s Available

The “machine in the garden” is the metaphor used to describe how the Industrial Revolution changed America’s agricultural economy to a manufacturing economy. But in a large lot in Mesa, it has a completely different meaning.

Just South of US-60, at the intersection of Country Club and Grove, across from the Home Depot, is a large parking facility for road-fixing equipment. It must be a small boys dream to see these machines– road graders, front-loaders, back-hoes, steamrollers, and every big-wheeled, bright yellow machine that ever put down a new road or fixed a buckled one.

cactus fence

cactus fence

The machines are valuable and a favorite of thieves and lowlifes who like to destroy things without a real reason. How to protect these machines? Dogs? Possibly. A big fence? Sure, but every fence will have a gate.

So, here comes the machine in the garden. Let the desert take its course. Big-paddled prickly pears form a four-foot fence around the machines. Anyone who has ever experienced the pain of the long thorns, or the unrelenting sting of the short thorns won’t go near these again. Too tall to jump over, too thick to step through, the fence blooms with bright red blossoms that look great against the yellow machines.

The entire scene is perfect–desert plants, road-creating equipment, and a firm stand on privacy and hands-off attitude.

–Quinn McDonald enjoys the contrasts brought on by desert-urban living. See her writing and read about creativity coaching at her website,

One thought on “Make the Most of What’s Available

  1. I love how much you’re taking from the experience of living in Arizona; you seem to be really enjoying it!

    —-> Many years ago, I left the West and went to live in the East. I had been in the West for a while and once you live here, it becomes part of you. I kept hearing it call, I smell the roasting chiles and the wet-dust smell of a storm, and I finally listened and went back. Now every time I fly over the purple mountains that are the run-up to the Rockies, I know I’m home and tears fill my eyes. I’m grateful I could come home. -Q

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