We, who have been cooped up for a lot of the last year-and-a-half of the pandemic have relished thoughts of seeing relatives and friends...getting and giving hugs. We longed to be able to joyously rip off our masks and face the sunshine and smell the trees and flowers...if one was lucky enough, to breath in the salty air and enjoy the cool breeze and refreshing waves of the ocean. As in my case, you also may have moved your home only to discover a lawn out back that was screaming to become a refuge for the migratory birds, insects, butterflies and hummingbirds. So with ideas and fantasies of dancing, buzzing, and amazing flying wildlife in my head, I became okay with giving up my amazing panoramic views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, with the park across the street with the hawks flying up to our 16th floor window.
I thought, 'this will be good to just be able to go out the door and not have to wait for our constantly broken elevators (16 floors of stairs will keep you in shape...but with groceries?). To step outside and have a garden is a dream come true for an urban dweller such as myself. I loved "the City",the nightlife, the energy...but that was gone and the restrictions became so that something out there was telling me it was time for a change.
I looked, (as I always have) for what could I plant to help the occasional passing insect or bird? I got in touch with the Audubon Society as they had an active Re-Wild program they were in union with. My husband and I put in our order as we wanted to adopt indigenous plants to reintroduce native species to what we hoped would become our new garden. My husband put in a lot of clearing of the property and I sowed copious amounts of seeds, some of which I had purchased years before.
Excited, we prepped and sowed and then relaxed in the back garden. As we did we began to smell noxious fumes emanating from our neighbor's yard entering our space!. They had already spent four days making their house's yard almost 80% concrete covered (he was after all a Brooklyn boy...concrete jungle) but still maintained a small patch of dirt where he decided he wanted to grow his garden. The smell was so intense that I had to come inside my house to breath. I actually apologized to my jasmine plant on the way in a
nd promised that the wind would soon change and she would be okay.
Although the noise and the smell of leaf blower's fumes and the roar of huge rideable mowers continues along with ala Joni-the paving of paradise, I cherish the moments as the sun sets when we can sit quietly outside and smell the pine trees and the jasmine in the cool night air. It also has me appreciating the beautiful variety of calls that our local song birds have graced us with as the never ending quest of the mating season continues with the music that it brings.
All in all, it has been a paradigm shift for me to once again be in a place very similar to the one I couldn't wait to 'get the hell out of' when I was a young woman. This move has made me appreciate how wonderful this suburban life can be. The traffic, on the other hand, has its share of frenzied drivers and the shops with their far less than courteous shoppers. I still catch myself looking for when the best time to venture out would be,. The longer I live, the more I understand why the deeply spiritual people I have known get up so very early to meditate. That may be the only time when people are at peace...when only the day birds are stirring to greet the day, as the owls retreat and the opossums turn in to sleep... the monks and the nuns wake up to pray for us all. Not a bad idea of how to bring some serenity into the start of your day.