Sitting on the back deck, watching the dying rays of sun light up the belly of the patchy clouds overhead, my weekend came to a close. 75 blessed degrees. It was a weekend for yard work, so we worked the yard. My limbs are still burning, and my legs and arms twitch with the memory of labor, but the yard is ready for summer. That last hour before sunset I finally rested, enjoying the dull ache of my muscles, the satisfaction of having the work completed, and watching the birds flit about the trees. Mourning doves, catbirds, cardinals, blue jays, a pair of orioles, and robins galore. It was a cacophony of chirping, and the indomitable Moxie was beside herself at their insolence. At times like that I can think of no more beautiful place on earth than our little suburban back yard.
I’ve never been an outgoing person, and as I get older I find myself turning further inward, away from the world. There are times that I wish we lived somewhere out in the country, far away from anyone else, but I know that this late 50’s rambler is our home, and that I am unlikely to ever leave it. There are worse places a person could settle down than our little suburban retreat. The trees here are full grown, and the yards full of shrubs and gardens. The world buzzes by around us, but this little street provides a sanctuary. I only need to stop for a minute of rest to realize how untouched we are by the city around us. If I sit for an hour, like I did last night, the yard comes alive.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in self importance, and think that our impact on the world is enduring and permanent. But the reality is that it wouldn’t take long for nature to swallow us up, and take back the little plot of land that we tend. Each season we carve out our little place here and hold the wilderness at bay, even in the midst of the city. In a north woods, or a country field, how much harder would it be to keep from being overgrown? As tempting as the solitude sounds, I wonder if I would feel threatened by the silence, and the space around us. Sit still long enough and I could imagine that I could hear the grass, and trees advancing, their lithe green tendrils stealthily closing in around us.