I know I’ve already shared about my love for gardening and the joy it brings me. It is in full bloom right now and this is the time of year I marvel at the tenacity of my little plants. They come back in force about now and remind me that timidity and shyness are not a part of my garden’s vocabulary. I am busy cutting back, thinning out, and trying to keep them from overrunning their bounds. It is a job I enjoy, simply from the abundance of it.
While out whacking back the lemon balm (did you know you can use it in cooking? I found about a hundred recipes for things with lemon balm in it) I was thinking about how we let things fill in the cracks when we aren’t looking. These things are bad habits, negative thoughts, or just plain dead air in our brains. I thought about the need to pull out some of the overgrowth all weekend, but it was Sunday evening before I really got to it. And by doing it, I recreated the pathway and gave some shape to the garden – sure, the lemon balm was pretty, but it was essentially masking the beauty of what was meant to be there. By taking it away, I created the necessary negative space to see the plan. That is how life gets, all too often, by my account. It is in the cutting back that we see what is needed.
During my work, I was listening to some high pitched birds making a racket overhead. I had thought about putting on my iPod while I was working, but then remembered that part of what I love about gardening is being there, in the moment. If I put on my iPod, I lose that. Plus, I sing along loudly and people give me funny looks. So I was out there, listening. And when I looked to see what all the fuss was about, I saw that we had some juvenile Pileated woodpeckers nesting in the broad leaf maple tree above me. They were learning to forage on their own and were quite fun to watch. I love the full grown birds and was very happy to see that our little corner of the universe was playing host to a nest. That meant it had been chosen and was special.
Today, after a long day at work and getting my youngest to and from Tuba lessons (ironically, very near my office….) we were heading to the door when there was a ruckus just by the entry path. Our dog was barking, crows were squawking, and I looked back to see a barred owl on the ground in the garden. He (she?) flapped and flew unsteadily up to the first branch of the nearest fir tree. From there, I could see the fluff still under his feathers and knew he was a young one. I shooed the dog inside and then went out to see what I could see. The owl was now by the path to the woods, once again on the ground. I walked over to it and it looked me up and down. Surmising there was no threat, it regarded me in a way that was at once wise and curious. I talked to it, assuring I meant no harm and asking if he (she?) was OK. I left it there, heading to get my camera. It was in a cedar tree when I got back and I took a few furtive pictures. It flew off shortly after, and I have to assume all was well.
Finding that kind of wildlife just outside my door makes me very happy. As the steward of this small corner of the planet, I feel good knowing that life is continuing and that my garden is a gracious and supportive home to so many. We have taken the time to certify our yard as a wildlife refuge and days like this make me think we have really been successful. I can’t control much, but at least my little corner of the universe is doing just fine. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to achieve balance in one aspect of my life.