Well, I’m here to say today that my yard has not had a bedtime for the last couple of years. Maybe three? (Beyond that, I’m not admitting.)
In fact, my yard has pretty much done whatever it pleases during this time. I did pull weeds three times this summer, but that was sort of like chasing after a giggling buck naked toddler when you have a broken ankle. Pointless when weighed against reality.
It is true that I don’t particularly get my jollies from yard work. On the other hand, I don’t mind the opportunity to listen to an audiobook while I work. The main thing is that the last couple of years have been chock full of writing deadlines. That’s a good problem, so I don’t complain, even if I do feel the burn of an inner grown whenever I look out the windows on the back of my house.
My back yard is on a hill and has tiered landscaping. At first I thought I would just let the top level go wild. I didn’t spend time up there anyway. In August the sunflowers take over and it’s marvelous just the way it is.
Then I relinquished the next layer down. After all, attempts to construct a functioning watering system for flowers have failed. Then I let go of the next layer down, leaving me only with the patio kind of space right outside the back door. This I can water and weed with reasonable cost in energy and time.
But I’ve noticed something unexpected after a few summers of not trying to keep everything in order. Bird life like I never saw in previous years.
It’s a little frustrating that I don’t know much about birds. Years ago I got a bird book for Christmas. It has great pictures, so sometimes I go running for it but I never get there fast enough. And I never get close enough with a camera to snap a shot and look it up later.
So most of the time I don’t know what I’m looking at, beyond the magpies, crows, doves and robins I’m used to seeing around the neighborhood.
And I’ve decided to be okay with that. When I see a bird that makes me want to stand still, hold my breath and stare, it’s a good reminder of the hidden beauty in all our days. When a bird lifts off and I glimpse the white or orange tucked under the spread of its brown-speckled wings in flight, it reminds me that each day has its own surprises.
There’s a wildness in God’s world. There’s a wildness in God. And in between the regimented schedules of meeting writing deadlines and doing all the life things we all do, I welcome this reminder of creativity and the invitation to step into a wildness of my own.