A side effect of not being constantly engaged in social media is the time to stare into my backyard. It may seem like a misuse of time to you, but I can assure you it is paramount to my overall well-being.
I have three favorite perches in my home: The glass and bamboo patio table right under the ceiling fan on the back porch; the Pier 1 wicker saucer chair we’ve had forever with the charmingly rusted foot stool (now table) beside it, also on the patio; and one corner of my exceptionally comfy sofa. All three of them face the back yard.
Can I tell you about it, again?
This yard will never be in a home and garden magazine, but that doesn’t seem to dissuade the squirrels, doves, cardinals or lizards from visiting frequently. The bees and butterflies are undeterred when the orange tree or flowers start blooming. And what I can only suspect is a citrus rat – (since squirrels are not nocturnal) scurrying up the fence when the light comes on and the dogs go out – seems perfectly at home scavenging for fallen oranges..
I have a rubber tree that has not had the benefit of nature’s hard freeze to help stunt its growth. It’s over 30 feet tall now. A bay tree that seemed to have died, proved us wrong when we cut it down by sprouting 5 baby trees. Now all over 15 feet tall. And many other overgrown, bright green hiding places for various Florida fauna.
There are a few palm trees in the yards behind mine and when it’s windy it sounds like it’s raining.
There are strategically placed wind chimes around the patio and a few naked, out in the weather, that add to the music of the raining palms.
There’s just enough space between the trees and the fence to provide a never ending play of light and shadow when the slightest breeze blows.
Doves often take to the exposed patio for a lover’s promenade.
And ferns play host to untold numbers of winged and multi-legged critters.
There’s a dish with water on the table that sits on the dove’s patio. Throughout the day any number of birds can be found sipping the water or taking a quick bath. Occasionally I’ll catch a squirrel taking a drink. And most recently I’ve spied a few lizards and even a yellow jacket quenching their thirst when it seemed it would never rain again.
But the enchantment doesn’t end with the back of the house. The front yard holds its own charms.
A towering live oak tree that serves as a condominium for no less than three squirrel families. A magnolia tree that blooms on and off all year, it seems, dropping leaves … always.
And Elma. Remember Elma? Our struggling winged elm tree that was transplanted from the back yard to the front? It was dire there for a while. No rain and searing heat took their toll. We were convinced she just wasn’t going to make it. Her leaves turned brown and eventually fell off, her tiniest branches eventually snapped with the gentlest breeze and even some of her sturdier branches yielded to pressure from water. The plan was to toss her into the yard recycling pile, we just didn’t get around to it. Thankfully!
I’m happy to report that the recent rains, lots and lots of watering, some encouraging words and a little petting have proved successful. Elma lives!
There’s a metaphor in there about being transplanted or transformation or rebirth, but I’ll let you create your own story about that.
It’s nearly dusk, it’s time to move to the saucer chair and catch the late show.