In the Neighborhood

When we first moved in, we could sit on the porch and see nothing but green. No other houses. Rarely a human form. It was pretty amazing, considering we live smack dab in the middle of the city, or less so, realizing ours is the last on an unmarked dead-end street with only 5 houses in total.

We have no back yard, but the front runs for 120 feet and then drops into Briar Creek (aptly named), and thus began our soul-stirring relationship with nature. We could see egrets on the bank, training their eagle eyes on unsuspecting fish, hawks circling for daily joy rides, deer prints …. I drove home from the studio late one evening, and as I reached our short street, an owl appeared and flew alongside me not even two feet from my face until I pulled into the garage, my mouth hanging open the entire time.

And then as gardeners do, we began planting. Okay, mostly my husband, who cares nothing for temperature or insects or the clock or even food. And of course the more we planted, the fuller and more lush the garden became, transforming itself to a wonderland so deep and multi-layered that we could no longer see the creek or the egrets standing watch, and we assumed that “progress” in the neighborhood had moved them along. I missed them, but I also loved the banana and fig and mimosa trees that had magically sprung up in their place.

Or perhaps more accurately, the banana and fig and mimosa trees that had shortened my vision.

A few days ago we went for a walk along our winding two-lane main road, and I suddenly felt pulled to jump off the sidewalk and shimmy down the bank for an eyeful of our creek from a different point of view. And there, some fifteen feet below the level at which we pass our days, focused too heavily on where we’re going and whether or not we’ll be late, I spied a gorgeous four foot heron picking her long-legged way towards us.

Hang on Sweet Nature. You give me hope.