Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Garden of Life

The martial artist needs better and more highly trained opponents in his journey toward becoming a master. It is the only way to test and refine his growing skill. The summer of 08 shaped up to be a formidable opponent to my garden. The number of moves Mother Nature threw my way deserves mention.

To start, spring came very late, as in June. We actually had snow and hail several times in May. Living at seven thousand feet plays a role in this but compared to the previous two years, when I was out and planting in April and definitely in May, it was rough to put off the excitement of spring till June. OK, maybe I squeezed in a few days in May but not more than three. Then in about the time it takes to have a long deep breath the heat arrived. Essentially no spring…winter into summer and not a normal summer. By mid-June we were in the nineties often and that didn’t really let up till Aug. This included almost no rain, which meant most things I planted did not make it. If it did make it there was the growing chipmunks that seem to have taken to dining on all things sedum. Something that normally could survive the heat and dryness but not the little mouths of chipmunks. Then there are the ravens that manage to kill all of the moss because those cute little chipmunks like to bury the birdseed they steal under it. The raven, stellar jays, and mourning doves all discovered the buried treasure and in the process of digging it up destroyed most of the moss that was settling in despite the heat and dryness.
The deer managed to clear out anything that was even thinking of blooming, like the lovely pine spiderworts, sunflowers, columbine and all things of color, like pansies. The pansies came back but so did the deer and gone in seconds what took weeks to grow. At least the deer brought her two fawns the second time and I had the pleasure to see them. Though at that moment I still hadn’t realized they’d eaten their way through the garden.

The fox who visits daily seems to tread lightly. She should be feasting on those chipmunks or squirrels but I’m not sure she got the hunting gene. She settles for birdseed as well and a long drink of water when needed. She’ll stay and visit, lying around while we eat dinner or even nibbling on my fingers. She brought her baby around last week, early one morning, which was a total shock because she is so tiny and skinny I would never have thought she was trying to feed anyone but herself.

The bear, which we’ve seen a lot this year, also manages to tread lightly. He’s more interested in hummingbird food, sunflower seeds and a spot of water occasionally. He stays on the small paths and rock steps as he moves through the garden, the largest of them all and the gentlest.

I guess Mother Nature wanted me to not be too attached to things. Maybe to roll with the changes she threw my way, to take note of what was there day in and out and to love all these beings sent to test my skill in the garden of life.

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