I grew up in the suburbs of Tucson, surrounded by lush desert vegetation. I would climb it, hide in it, and play around it. But I rarely knew any of the plants’ names, and I did not have much of a sense of what their roles (or mine) were in our shared community. It was a pleasant, but fairly shallow relationship, as the knowing of the other, the understanding of the other, was just at the surface level.
It didn’t help that my family had moved here from elsewhere. We were all greenhorns with no shared history or understanding of this place and its life.