The writer finds Stafford in a coffee shop in Portland. Nearby, writes Tara Rae Miner, is "a strip of untamed land, bounded by busy roads in a dense, urban landscape. It is not a park, simply a tract of woods that developers missed."
"a place like this is an island that's never been conquered, a metaphor for that wild part of the mind." That wildness, according to Stafford, is manifest in horsetail pushing up through a crack in the sidewalk and cottonwood seedlings growing in an abandoned storefront. Such things, he writes, "remind us of what we have over-run, but on which, in the end, we rely."