Little Things

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m spoiled. I grew up in Pennsylvania where the winters were cold, damp and windy. Where the sun hid behind clouds for days at a time and a clear blue sky devoid of them was something to behold in its awesomeness and rarity. I’ve lived in Colorado 28 years now and I’ve become soft. So be it.

When I looked out my bedroom window this past Monday night in late May I commented to Mrs. Gibble, “It’s dumping snow outside!” The next morning there was four inches in my backyard in metro Denver. I read this week that on Engineer Pass in Hinsdale County the snow is ten feet deep. Again, I’m spoiled. I live in Denver, where the snow does not linger, but still, I longed for a day where I could at least plant some vegetables.

This Memorial Day weekend the weather finally idled, and while a cool breeze still blows, the sun was out yesterday and now today I can sit on my back porch scribing my thoughts. I planted my vegetables yesterday and most unusual for me, on a long three day weekend, I have not ventured to a trail, but have been exploring in the wilderness of my front and back yards.

We walk our dogs daily and each day upon returning to house #1347 I stop to tour my garden in front. I look to see what is blooming, “Oh, perhaps in a day or two, the gallardia will be open, orange now fringes its edges, hinting at a burst of color forthcoming.”

A few years ago I sat on my back porch in this very seat where I toil away now. My dogs were with me and both bolted into a run, gazing toward the sky as they raced to the fence mere yards away. Instinctively my head extended skyward as well, just in time to catch a Coopers Hawk flying west, snatching a dove in mid air and just as quickly disappearing. Had I really just seen that I thought to myself? The right place, the right time.

This morning as I pulled bindweed in the rocks surrounding my beds of flowers, a mundane task if there ever was one, for bindweed wins all battles, I thought back to that Coopers Hawk. If I happened to catch a glimpse of such a rare sight as this, how much am I missing by not spending more time in my back yard?

Touring my garden earlier today I spied the tiny lady bug in the photo at the top of this post. I got down on my knees, pulled out my phone and looked at her through the lens, adjusting the manual settings so that I could move into her tiny world. How big must these stalks of fringed sage look to her? She is amongst a jungle here in my perennial bed, protected from predators by the many leaves, petals, bark and greenery. Yet, she possesses something I will never have, the ability to fly, to soar high above her world for an aerial view of it all. I sit back in wonder at this wilderness I observe.

The pollinators are especially intriguing. Later in the afternoon I recline on the flagstone, now in the backyard, setting up for a photo of the many honeybees going to work on a Sunday in my catmint. The gentle buzz is soothing as I patiently wait for them to come in front of my face so that I can try to capture their amazing effort. “Please leave us be” they seem to say, “for we, too, have endured a long winter and we have much to do.”

For me, the tardy spring is little more than an inconvenience. For the pollinators and other wildlife it is life and death.

The return to more normal weather this weekend allowed me the opportunity to catch up on the yard work, to get some plants in the ground, sacrificing time afield in the foothills or higher mountains, making wonderful memories. Or so I thought.

When I am on a trail, or in the backcountry by a lake, or gathering in a view so massive feeling like I am the ladybug suspended in air, my soul sings. My heart is filled with a feeling of splendor as I take in the beauty of the world. But I realized today that when the sense of wonder found in my yard matches that found in the backcountry, I feel my heart and soul are better appreciating all things natural.