Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden — in all places.
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
The day begins with a blood-red sky, a flap of wings, the remains of man’s flight streaked across alternating bands of light and dark.
Patches of indigo and magenta hint at the blues to come as the sun sends its light ahead to greet the clouds. Two vultures, early birds, chase the predawn flights.
Morning softens and brightens. One buzzard moves ahead of the contrail while the other glides over the meadows.
The light and the day advance. Time sweeps ahead. I step outside again. Everything is different now. The colors, the light, the sounds have changed. I notice the trees are in the midst of their spring awakening along with the earth, flowers appearing on the oaks and maples.
New flowers have appeared near the front porch. This is my fourth spring here on the Wabi-Sabi Ranch and I’ve never seen them before. We have shifted a lot of dirt, disturbed a lot of plants and trees and shrubs. Perhaps the little pink flowers were hiding out somewhere waiting for a just-right place to bloom.
I walk out to the meadows and finally identify the mystery tree, not by its shape or bark or flowers, but by its scent. Now that it is full of flowers and buzzing with flies and wasps and bees, my nose clearly picks up the scent of rotting fish. It’s a Bradford Pear. I don’t know how I missed the odor last year or the year before that. Maybe the breeze was blowing the scent away from me or maybe I thought it was coming from the marsh. Whatever the case, there is no mistaking the stench.
In the thicket near the edge of the marsh, red-winged blackbirds chatter and chak chak chak. A blue jay sounds the alarm and a cardinal suddenly floats up out of the grasses. He perches on the branch of a loblolly pine and keeps an eye on me as I pass. I wonder how many nests are hidden in the thickets and in the marshes. Judging from the sounds — the calls, the songs, the chatter, the rustling — there must be many. There are rabbits in there, too, and I’ve seen wild turkeys come strolling out of that particular thicket during the summer months.
The myrtles around the pond collect sunlight and glow with green. If you look carefully, you might catch a glimpse of the Green Man.
I go out again near sunset and watch as the dried phragmites (grasses) at the back of the pond gather the warmth and reflect it back on the surface of the water.
The bright green mosses growing under the old oak tree have sprouted miniature blades that glow greenish-yellow in the early evening light.
There are signs of deer all around, but I rarely see them. On this beautiful evening, M and I go looking for them because on his way home from work he saw what he thinks was a white, or partially white, deer.
I never realized how many deer there are hiding in the woods, forming their own secret societies. We are in luck this evening and see large groups of them at the edge of the woods and in the farm fields, enjoying their supper as the light begins to fade.
They see us and head back into the woods where they wait for us to leave. Some take their time, nonchalantly strolling towards the trees. Others leap and bound, flashing their white tails in warning.
We might have found the white, or partially white (piebald), deer, but it was so far away that we can’t be sure. Perhaps we’ll go out and look again some evening. In the meantime, it was enough to briefly catch a glimpse of the secret societies that meet here on the Eastern Shore. Not just the deer, but the early birds who greet the sunrise, the mosses, the flowering trees, the new flowers near the porch, and the various birds that meet and greet each other throughout the day. They are not really secret, of course. But you have to be there, in the moment and paying attention, to find them.
Thanks for coming along on a series of walks throughout the day. There is so much going on during the spring months that life feels full to overflowing. If we have time this evening, let’s meet out at the Point to watch the sunset. There’s a storm coming so we might be gifted with a colorful show of light and clouds. Sunset tonight is at 7:19 PM. It is warm today (in the mid-70’s), but you might need a light jacket. It cools off quickly once the sun sets.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂