29 April 2011

My back yard

One of this spring's benefits I had not anticipated has come my way by virtue of my lending Tal more of a hand with the yard work.  The physical labor has given me sore muscles and increasing endurance, no doubt.  It also gives me time for observation of all sorts of things from a given task's progress to the amazing variety of what lives all around our home.

The restlessness I have almost never been without during my life has on occasion been stilled of late (and not solely by exhaustion).  There is something about being outside, about the breeze ruffling my hair, about coming across a bird's nest, about marking new growth in the pine grove, about a fern's unrolling that is the equivalent of -- maybe even better than -- the most liturgically proper benediction I've ever pronounced or received.

To my wonder and delight I have determined that I don't need to go to the North Carolina mountains to enjoy -- and identify, photograph, admire -- wildflowers. I am managing very well to dog ear our Audubon wildflower book without once starting the car.

One of the most beautiful flowers is the diminutive and shy
Solomon's Seal, the blossoms hidden by the gently leaning stem.
Have I simply missed them in previous years or is our woods
gradually becoming more supportive of them?

Clearly, I am seeing our yard through newly appreciative eyes.  It isn't "just" the yard, space ever in need of tending.  Neither is it merely several acres of flowering sweetness. 

Increasingly, there are times when a walk along the promenade, through the pine grove, into the deeper woods reveals such surprises that the yard seems more like a foreign country than the familiar plot on which we have lived for some eight years.  Enticing and life giving?  Yes.  Startling and unexpectedly unsettling?  Yes.  Interesting?  Always.

A wildflower this isn't.  But, it IS wild -- an Eastern Eyed Click Beetle.  About two inches long, it collided with my head and then obliged a photo op when I located it in the grass near my feet.  The Orphan Annie eyes are decoys.  The actual eyes are forward and low, just behind the antenae, which it kept hidden until it began to move.

Eyes.  Mine are seeing differently these days.   I don't suppose they operate solely on their own.  More likely the guidance of what amounts to a new heart is making the difference.

No comments: