I have lived on the same spot of land for 13 ½ years now. Mark and I moved into the little yellow house with a wrap-around porch a week after we got married. I had spent 4 ½ years in an apartment as a single mom of two little girls, Mark in a condo. We wanted a place with a yard, where the girls, then 9 and 6, could run and play and dig--and where we could establish ourselves as a family.
We reclaimed gardens, we put in a fence. We moved shrubs, we planted an aspen grove, we built a firepit. We raked the leaves, mowed the lawn, built arbors and garden structures, and installed bird feeders. We tore down inadequate decks and rebuilt them to suit our insatiable need for the outdoors.
When we are lucky, we still see an occasional pheasant in the front shrubs, or a fox steal across the road, or a deer in a nearby pasture. And we delight in the flocks of geese that fly overhead at dawn and dusk from August to November—and know that it will be a sad day indeed when they no longer come.
In the summertime, we live on the porch, moving from space to space as the sunlight shifts with the passing hours. In the winter, we live in the hot tub—the only place to comfortably watch the sunset turn from gold to pink to periwinkle in the shrinking twilight, the silhouettes of the giant cottonwood and the silo behind, sentinels to the coming of night.
Today I noticed that the mourning doves are back, wondering if they are yet preparing for another brood. The magpies squawk throughout winter and I will admit I hope they choose not to nest in our trees again this spring—the six babies we hosted two springs ago were raucous enough, though we will take our turn if the front pines prove suitable once again.
Soon, we will rejoice in the return of the robins, their hesitant babies nestled in a snug nest, tight in the crook of the blue spruce; and later we’ll see Fred and Betty the hummingbirds, flitting from the honeysuckle to the Rose of Sharon to the trumpet vine—our yard and garden being home to much more than a family, but to an entire system, knowing that the delight is in the awareness; being conscious that it is ever there.