Back to My Normal(?) Life

This was the send-off I received last Thursday. It seems most were happy to see me leave. ;)

Waving Goodbye

Driving a different route home than usual, I got to explore new territory. I have a better appreciation for those of you able to pull over and get photos of barns and scenery. I saw a few interesting barns, but on a two-lane road with a 55-mph-speed limit, and no shoulder, I failed to get any pictures to share.  

But I did find something new in our backyard when I arrived.

Munching Clover

Some of you know I have a soft spot for bunnies, so this was the perfect welcome-home gift. 

A Taste of Home

Raindrops splashing by Patti Jarrett

The sky bellowed for quite some time this afternoon before the pattering of raindrops could be heard on the roof.  I had begun to think it was only teasing. Peering out, the drops were so large, it reminded me of hail. Cracking the storm door to take a closer look, I caught a whiff of freshness in the air that hadn’t been present when I dashed out to close the car windows earlier. Immediately I was whisked into the past, to a large covered porch where Dad and I would sit and watch the rain fall and lightning blaze across the sky. Many miles from my present home, the scent was the same, steam rising from the baked earth and pavement, creating a feast for the senses. I devoured it once more.

A New View of Our Big Backyard

Tuesday morning, I noticed these scattered under the oak tree, a sure sign that a squirrel was building a nest. 

 I gathered this pile of gnawed-off branches for you to see, and planned to share another joyful backyard post. My husband joked that they waste a lot of construction materials.

 We spied a young bunny :) in the yard this past weekend. 

 Tuesday afternoon, we were on the receiving end of a severe thunderstorm, which I knew not of, as I was getting a massage and listening to peaceful music while havoc was wreaked on the great outdoors with 60-70 mph winds. When I arrived home, the snowy white substance in the landscape bed caught my eye. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was hail. 

 There was a LOT more debris found in the backyard, but it couldn’t be blamed on the squirrel. Poor thing, it was running back and forth across the tree, like it couldn’t find what it was looking for; and I wondered if animals experience shock. Taking a closer look at the plants in the butterfly and herb garden, I found leaves shredded, plants flattened as if they’d been forced to bend in one direction,  broken limbs and stems. A gerbera daisy had every flower stem broken, as did the bee balm.

A cherry tree between our yard and the neighbor’s had been uprooted.

This is what is left of those beautiful rhododendron blossoms. I’m glad to have enjoyed them while they lasted.

Sometimes I wonder if gardening is worth the effort. Realizing the sense of loss I experienced at seeing what had happened in our yard, how much more I felt for those who have had everything familiar stripped away by the recent tornadoes. I thought of the squirrels that once ran through the trees of their now-destroyed landscape. And how many gardens were ruined, if they could even find their garden?

This quote I’d seen posted on Facebook recently came to mind:
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” –Martin Luther

Let us continue to sow our seeds into the soil, and into the lives of others, for we all share this Big Backyard.
May God bless you this day, in a very special way.

The Apple Tree and Me

I stumbled onto the BEST writing exercise recently! You have got to try this, even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, or you thought English class was a method of torture. This will only take a few minutes, unless you find yourself savoring these forgotten moments and choose to linger. Get your pen, pencil, paper, or keyboard, sit up straight (sorry, I HAD to say that), and get ready to take a little trip.

Think of a childhood memory, and start writing about it. You will be amazed at the details that come to mind, and where your thoughts take you.

Fully aware that you may be bored to tears, I decided to share a bit of my journey with you, anyway. If your screen becomes blurred, you are excused to go write your memory; but be sure to come back and leave a comment and tell me what came to mind, or what you thought of the exercise. Please be kind. :)

I began my visit to the past, sitting in an apple tree with a Nancy Drew mystery. It was summer vacation, and I was enveloped by the warmth of the season on a lazy afternoon. Sometimes I’d pluck a red, ripe tomato from the garden as I trod the path that led up the hill  to the apple tree. I could almost taste it as the words spilled onto the page. Then there was the time Dad found a huge conical hornet’s nest at the end of my reading branch, and he wondered why I’d never been stung.

Like a trip in a time machine, my thoughts were transported a few years down the road, to the last time I’d seen the property after my parents passed and the land was sold. Many changes had taken place. Their property had been surrounded by woods, the terminus of a dead-end street at the time of my apple-tree adventures. Then a neighborhood was built in the middle of a pasture field, and where the trees once stood. The last time I saw it, the outbuildings and chicken coops had been razed, the hill had been leveled and someone built a home there.  It would never be the same, and I’d never returned…until just the other day.