Monday, June 21, 2010

It's A Beautiful Morning....

What follows are my musings of a wonderful morning spent in my back yard last week.

I sit in the back yard patio, surveying my surroundings. My second latte in hand with remnants of yesterdays activities with the grand kids around me - gloves and tools still strewn about on the table and the hose stretched across the yard.

The sun is peeking through the trees, a bunny feeds in the grass, birds are singing. Its a cool morning and all seems peaceful. It is cool enough that no one’s A/C unit is going on, so a few cars driving by is the only other noise. It’s a little piece of heaven for me...a private sanctuary just steps outside my back door.

I am prone towards feeling some guilt about all this enjoyment - actually, the opportunity to enjoy it since I am not working outside the home. If I accomplished more during my days, perhaps the guilt would not be so prevalent. It is not as if I sit around all day and watch soap operas while eating bon-bons.  In fact, because I am "free", and people know it there can be quite a few things on my daily schedule.  But still, in my mind because of my current “unemployed” state (I prefer the term “Kept Woman”) my house should be immaculate, a several course meal on the table every night and all the clothes starched and pressed. Ha! The reality is, the house is clean enough and Bill and I are never in dirty clothes - in fact I am quite good at keeping him supplied in fresh shirts, underwear, socks and pants. But there is a bit of clutter (especially in “under used” rooms) and plenty of meals are leftovers or thrown together (with lots of love of course) as in “what do you feel like eating tonight?”. The truth is I hate housework and always have, so even the bit I do accomplish is a great stretch for me. But I do love having a clean house and still dream of being decadent enough with money to hire a housekeeper.

But for now I just enjoy these times of peace and tranquility in this home God has blessed us with.  There were plenty of years I had little peace or time to enjoy things like this.  I remind myself I have been keeping house and raising children since I was 14, have held many jobs that were stressful enough and that Bill really likes having me home.  I cook often and we use our home to entertain all the time.  So, I put the guilt aside and embrace this peace and feel like God created this place just for me, because He really does love me.

I survey the freshly cut grass (thanks Gary) and see the sun shining on the day lilies, their buds reaching out towards the sky, waiting for the warmth of the sun to open them up so they can bloom for just one day. There are plenty there, so even though death comes quickly, more are waiting for their turn to burst open and assures the bright orange flowers will be visible for weeks to come.

The wild rose bush in the rock garden at the end of the yard blooms with red flowers, the mulberry tree behind it holds thousands of berries, to the right, along the fence the tomatoes are growing like crazy in the container garden, the onions my sister in law DeeAnn gave me many years ago thrive and continue to spread, Brown Eyed Susans are starting to bud and my hanging baskets and pots look pretty with the annuals I planted. I especially like the pot with the orange daisy like flowers with the purple centers. Even the “tree garden” to my left (named so because of the tall maple tree that grows in the middle of it) that seems to have lost it’s order is beautiful as it overflows with an array of plants : 2 kinds of ground cover (Bishops Weed from my sister in law Billie and another that I bought, but can never remember the name of - it gets beautiful purple flowers all over it), lavender in bloom, mint gone wild, chives, cone flowers, a sweetheart rose bush (a gift from Martha Byler after my mom died) the tallest Fox Glove I have ever seen, Snap Dragons and several potted plants placed on the wood beams that contain it all. Two of the pots are jasmine, which especially excites me as they are now forming buds with a promise of sweet scented white flowers. I love the color of a garden, but the smells...oh, they bring a special joy to my soul.  

One of the jasmine trees holds a very special place in my heart, as a couple years ago I thought I had lost it because all the leaves had fallen off and no sprouts were appeared lifeless.  I pulled it from it's pot and put it in a pile with other branches and yard debris at the end of the season.  There it remained through the winter and last year in the spring I cleaned up the area and lo and behold there were sprouts on the branches!  I scooped it up, re-potted it and it bloomed wonderfully that year and I took it inside for the winter.  It is a beautiful green with lots of new growth and those promising buds.  It is that wonder of nature I have written about before...what may appear dead to my limited human sight is yet alive and ready to be re-born.

Behind me, the patio is lined with pots that contain various herbs and a few more flowers: Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Chocolate mint and my favorite flower, “Heliotrope”. My favorite because it is so fragrant - like sweet vanilla oozing from its deep purple flowers. It’s an annual and some years it is hard to find, so last year I babied one plant through the winter indoors and am pleased that it survived and is now blooming. But one just won’t do, so two more pots are in the row with my herbs. I also backed it up with buying some Helioptrope seeds online, just in case...

The hose catches my eye again, and reminds me of yesterdays activities with the grand babies: A meal of pancakes on the grill (with fresh mulberries picked by their little hands) and bacon, then yard work with Grammy (encouraged by my promise of payment for labor) and then spraying each other with the above mentioned hose. Grammy even taught them part of a new song: “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” by Frank Zappa. I did this after a comment they made to me - they thought they were cute by saying something like...“Hey Grammy, did you know you shouldn’t eat yellow snow?” Now why they were thinking this in the middle of such a warm day, I don’t know, perhaps just wanting to tease me..but I was ready for them. I replied by singing “Watch out where the huskies go, don’t you eat that yellow snow”, a line from the Zappa song. They snickered and seemed impressed. Good times.

The sun is moving closer to me, but I still enjoy the shade and coolness of this morning. I go inside to grab seeds and fill my bird feeder, jealous of all the activity I see at my neighbor Noreen’s feeders. I have neglected mine and left it empty for several weeks now, so I am sure the birds will need some time to notice. Hopefully they will see it before the squirrels do. My next chore will be slathering the Shepperd's hook it hangs on with shortening, the only sure fire way I have found to keep the squirrels at bay. An added benefit of doing this is the fun of watching them try to get up the pole, only to slide down on the grease.

The bird bath is next to the feeder and seems always in need of more water.  Both the feeder and the bath are in view of the back window, where our cats sit in the family room.  The birds flying and squirrels running give them hours of pleasure and in turn gives us enjoyment as we watch them at the ready to pounce on anything that moves outside, out of their reach.  I especially love it when Isabella sees a bird that catches her fancy and lets out the little "clucking" sound a cat makes - "eh, eh, eh, eh" - when a bird excites them.

Summer has not even "officially" begun yet, but I know these mornings are numbered, and so I am quite adamant about spending time out here when the weather is so awesome.  There will be mornings when even early the humidity will be too much for me to really enjoy being outside and then of course the dreaded winter is just a few months ahead.  So this time is treasured, sacred and appreciated for the beauty and peace it holds.

It is already 8:30 and I need to think of going to Zumba class.  I pull myself away to pack up my computer and empty latte cup. Goodbye sweet haven...we will meet together again another day.