In the last few years, I have been trying to embrace the chaos in my little back yard. I’m trying to quiet my heart so I can simply enjoy the sights and the sounds, more than worrying about the weeds (and there are plenty to worry about). It was supposed to rain yesterday afternoon, so I took the time to hang my clothes on the line, and settle in my ugly plastic lounge chair on the back porch.
As I surveyed my overgrown lawn, I chose to admire the tapestry of colour – deep purple violets with their faces to the sun, the splashes of yellow dandelions, and the sprinkles of frothy blue forget-me-nots. My grandmother’s bleeding heart winked at me from beneath the lilac tree.
A frustrated bumblebee hovered around the lilac tree, the tiny buds not quite opened but emitting a sweet scent just the same. The tree boughs had been bent and caked with thick ice in December, and I had wondered if they would have the strength to reach skyward again.
Then I noticed a splash of orange on one of the dandelions. Despite knowing my feet would become wet with dew in the thick grass, I grabbed my camera and tiptoed to the far side of my yard. It was an orange butterfly but before I could focus my lens, it flew away. I also spotted a white butterfly resting on the only blue flower in a patch of thick grass, but a territorial bumblebee chased it away.
My apple tree in the centre of my yard is blooming – round pink clusters of buds and delicate white blossoms edged in pink. Since my feet were already wet, I moved closer to the tree. It was animated with a sound like buzzing. I snapped a few photos of the blossoms before trying to capture a photo of a bumblebee moving between violets on the ground. Every time he landed, the weight of his fat body would cause the stem to arch to the ground, and he was hidden from me.
It was only when I sat back down in my chair that I noticed just how many bumblebees were also relishing the apple blossoms and the sunshine. Soon the bees will savour the white teardrops on my Solomon’s Seal or the tiny white bells of my lily-of-the-valley. My peonies are my favourite, ragged pink petals like a ruffled skirt of a ball gown.
I closed my eyes and listened to a sassy robin greeting the day with a friendly “cheerio”, while on the other side of the fence, a squirrel scolded a black starling. I haven’t heard a red-winged blackbirds’ chuckle this year – a sound that reminds me of lazy summer afternoons at my Grandmother’s house in the country. And finally, the most glorious sound of all, my cardinal. He was perched on top of my neighbour’s bare maple tree, the buds of it barely visible from a distance. His red crest was ablaze against the fading blue sky. He shouted a herald of praise before swooping across my yard to rest in the neighbour’s apple tree. And then he was gone.
“What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! I’ve always longed to live in a place like this…Birds find nooks and crannies in your house, sparrows and swallows make nests there. They lay their eggs and raise their young, singing their songs in the place where we worship.” -from Ps. 84, The Message ((MSG) copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)
This week’s challenge: Seasoned writers have mastered the art of looking at old and familiar sights with new eyes. To see more Blog Your Block stories, click here.