Everything grows here.

Once, long ago, I asked one of my neighbors how to grow tomatoes in the New Orleans climate.

The guy was an old Creole man. He was old enough to speak French as a mother tongue. He looked at me and said, “Just plant it and leave it alone. Everything grows here.”

He was right.

Aside from pruning the plants a little, staking them when they grew, and keeping the tomato worms away, I did nothing. I didn’t even water them.

We live in a natural hot house. Plenty of water in the form of rain gave them life. The constant humidity helped grow them to be large and full.

The next year, I added jalapenos and basil. I gave away boxes of peppers and tomatoes. The basil grew from one of those little potted plants that you buy at the grocery store into a four foot bush.

That brings me to the subject of the picture.

The tree is a live oak. There are moss and ferns. Two kinds of ferns. The ones growing on the ground are just called ferns. I think. The ones on the tree are called redemption ferns. They thrive on live oaks, but do not draw anything from them.

We live in a region that was swamp land. There are a few ridges that are solid ground or rock, but for most of us, we live on reclaimed swamp. Live oaks grew in the swamp. Some of the them may be older than the arrival of human beings. They are certainly older then the arrival of westerners.

People like me respect their age and do everything we can to protect them. I went so far as to tell a developer to build around a tree. He was from here. He listened.

I’d make the picture a separate component of the post, but you already know about the subject. What more can I tell you, but push the button?

Stay safe, Mask up. Keep your distance. Enjoy every hot dog.

One more thing. In America, try very hard not to blow anything up. Happy Independence Day.