That sunset in my header is in my front yard (not all of it, obviously, but my husband took that picture standing on the dock). The loons are singing tonight, and they reminded me, once more, of why I moved here.
I spent about half an hour yesterday documenting the life in the fields that have sprung up since we started insisting on grooming only with power-less tools. We have 1-1/2 acres cleared and 2 acres of woods behind the house which we have been ‘mowing’ with a scythe for 2 years, and with a 14″ push mower for the last few weeks. As you might suspect, we don’t mow it all; we keep a small-ish patch (about 3000 square feet) available for playing on and mow paths through the field to gardens stashed all over the place. Since we stopped mowing to the edge of the property, we have felt the place come to life.
When I step out the door, I find a paradise of insects, birds, snakes, salamanders, frogs (peeper frog in a culvert! LOUD!) and plants… plants, plants, plants. A tumult of life, nourished by the (seemingly) boundless waters from the swamp above my house. They do spring up! I had cleared the grass from around the black currant bushes about 2 weeks ago, and now I can barely distinguish them from the background.
I discovered, much to my astonishment, that we have several kinds of grass in the ‘lawn’, which all form heads at different heights, times, and of different colours. I can look forward to drifts of red, pink, silver, and orange just from the grasses.
The summer also gives me waves upon waves of volunteer flowers. Some are perennials from previous owners, a handful I have planted myself, but most of them are just here because this is where they live. I think I might still have trouble with that concept… THIS is where they live. These plants and animals LIVE here. They don’t have a nice kids-story house to go back to somewhere out there in the woods. They live in the dirt, in the trees, in the forest, in the creek. They live HERE. Even more important to me is the last emphasis: THEY live here. We live here with them… and they were here first. I keep that thought at the back of my head even when it is a mosquito, a blackfly or a weed… it was here first, and if I choose to remove it, I should not do so blithely.
Flowers I treasure in the gardens around me:
Coltsfoot, Dandelions, Iris, Siberian Iris, Peony, Forget-me-not, Hollyhock, Daffodils, Crocuses, Grape Hyacinth, Daisy, Clover, Snow-on-the-Mountain, Wigela, Lilac, Horse Chestnut, Lupins, Cattails, Apple, Plum, Pear, Yarrow, Chives, Pansies, Bergamot, Lavender, Tulip, Thyme, Alyssum, the tiny white ones I don’t know the name of, the little purple ones that look like they are on grass stalks, columbines, honeysuckle, buttercups, st john’s wort, strawberries
I get up every morning bewildered in love. How could I not, surrounded by life?