At the back of our house, in the dappled shade of a river birch, there is a little garden.
Between the rocks and mulch are annuals, perennials, and herbs in a pretty mix of colors. Mushrooms, too, are thriving . . . and periwinkle. The periwinkle has covered the ground completely under the tall pine at the other end of the garden and is inching its way over and past the rocks to take over the rest.
The perennials and herbs are out of control, fighting for space. Beyond, bushes are overgrown and ivy has crept in, climbing the fence. It will choke everything out if allowed to continue.
The garden needs work, but I’m feeling lazy, and the birds don’t seem to mind.
It’s a lively scene when our feathered friends come to visit. They love the stone birdbath and play in it to their heart’s content. We have sparrows, starlings, purple martins, robins, cardinals, and yellow finches. Morning doves coo from the rooftop, and every so often we spy hummingbirds, with their rapidly flapping wings, hovering over flowers as if suspended in air.
The sparrows are especially active, feathering their nests and busily foraging around the yard for food and supplies. They’ve taken over the martin house and just about every other birdhouse we’ve hung in the trees. They are small birds, yet eat so quickly every bit of seed we provide, we wonder where they put it all. We have to fill the feeders often.
We notice everything when we sit quietly on the back patio watching the wildlife.
Monarchs snack on the sweet sap of the spruce tree. Ducks waddle their way down to the lake where geese float with their young, basking in sunlight. Robins pluck at the grass for fat worms to take back to their nests. A bullfrog calls. A lone rabbit makes a sudden appearance and hops away.
I remember Bailey our cat sitting at the patio door window, watching a similar scene . . . waiting . . . his tail swaying slowly back-and-forth. We always thought he would do damage if he could ever get at the birds. We once bought him a feathered toy, and he ripped it to shreds the minute we left him alone with it. But the first time we put him outside, he ran for cover, skittish and afraid of every little thing that moved. He spent most of his time outdoors after that—his choice—and made fast friends with the geese who gathered around him when he went down to the lake for a drink.
In the late afternoon, sunlight shimmers on our lake. Everything is quiet, and I am content.
I wonder if the wildlife can feel how peaceful it is.