Monday, August 13, 2012

“The best things in life aren’t things.” [Sitting in a Vermont backyard in summer] South Burlington, Vermont

*Source of quote: The Vermont Earth Institute.

Sitting in the backyard in Vermont in the summertime, one can become absorbed mentally if not physically into the depth of green while basking in the sunshine. In our backyard, isolated patches of virgin uncut two-foot high grass gone to seed bends and sways slow dancing to an invisible and soundless orchestra. Mature Black Cherry trees, tall, slim, nearly branchless until they tower out of sight, bow to a hidden audience. Intoxicating sweet aromas waft from red Rugosa roses. The scent alone carries me to serenity, Nirvana, opulence.

          Our two dogs lay under my chair, ears lying placidly, eyes only half-open, head resting furtively on the green carpet of grass, clover and white clover blossoms. All three of us relish the mosaic of filtered shade come mid day and each other’s company throughout the day. While I softly stroke their ever-shedding coats, both dogs and I share unspoken contentment. Above us some twenty feet up in the abutting tree baby robins chirp in discontentment, eagerly awaiting the necessities of life from their mother.

          Sunlight illuminates Orange Profusion zinnias, and deepens the cherry red zinnia’s color. The light draws the Kentucky Pole Bean plants up wooden poles nearly nine feet high, while the few remaining blueberries swell in purplish blue by soaking in the prism of sunlight storing its color in juicy fruit. Cucumbers and Butternut Squash hidden amongst the leaves secretly gorge themselves on composted earthy nutrients. Heirloom tomatoes the size of softballs, turn bright red with sun induced freckles. Bees-bumblebees, wasps, mason bees, honeybees, moths, a few butterfly, hummingbirds, and dragonflies all sample the wares of midsummer. The temperature approaches ninety degrees as amphibians-toads and frogs bask in glory with us while the baby robins hold up their beaks while laying limp like melted wax. Dragonflies land on and about me fanning me with their wings.

          The breeze abruptly halts for intermission. The stillness amplifies the slowness of time. Details come into focus. The Elderberry bush’s fruit has begun to turn from green to black purple. Patches of milkweed begin to unfurl their seedpods, while Monarch caterpillars lay seemingly dormant in cocoons upon the leaves. A bright red and black feathered Pileated woodpecker silently prunes its' feathers without the common hammer like pounding it usually displays. Another large bird lands high in the Black Locust tree (and later in the apple tree) giving me an adrenaline rush awakening me from my stupor. The inside of the tail feathers have large white ovals the size of a half-dollar coin, while its large curved yellow tipped bill together help identify it as a Yellow Billed Cuckoo. Not a rare bird in Vermont, yet seldom seen.

          "Stop, Look, and Listen", when done right can help capture incredulous pleasure, all brought to us by time. Not scheduled time, or booked events, only free spacious empty time without clocks, to do lists, toys or tools, or any need for a sense of accomplishment. Time that allows us to see unexpected gifts from nature delivered randomly. One need only be present and observant to receive them. As I move to a rocking chair in the shade of an old large apple tree, patterns more pronounced in shade than sun offer the melody of shade lovers – Hostas, Bleeding Heart, and green lacy ferns. They calm me with rich organic feelings.

I stand and listen to the silence all around. There's not a sound in the setting sun. Only the robins song drifting through the trees on a gentle breeze. I'll take the hills and the vallys full of sunshine...

There's an ebb and flow and a rythm to the seasons of the year. My choice is clear for I've come to know when you work within the natural scheme of things what joy it brings...

To each his own. Let the great ambitions drive the great men on from dawn to dawn. I'll stay at home and I'll just tend my little peaceful plot of earth for all its worth. I'll take the hills and the valleys full of sunnshine I'll take the long days working with my hands I'll take the fields and the forest in the moonlight...

Lyrics (partial) from I'll take the hills by Banjo Dan (Dan Linder)

Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude. (Video)

Please help keep Vermont Green and Clean. Don't litter and if you see litter, pick it up and dispose of it properly.

 Other Vermont flower, critter, and birds, postings: