We recently returned from a trip. Flying into Columbus, we passed over Shepherd’s Corner. It was an amazing sight. The forest, fields and pond surrounded by houses with brown roofs that looked like they were part of a monopoly game. An oasis surrounded by subdivisions.
Later, I thought about how lucky we are to live on the edge of a park. I decided to take a stroll and see what was going on in our little patch since we had been gone. I noticed our lawn was full of clover and the worker bees were busy gathering pollen per their job description. The goldfinch were eating leftover thistle seed from our winter feeding station and showing off their bright yellow and black finery. Some were demonstrating their perfect balance by standing on the top of our blooming coneflowers picking out the small seeds as they swayed in the wind. Monarch butterflies were laying eggs on our many milkweed plants. Soon their leaves will be full of munching caterpillars and those who survive will become monarchs ready for their migration to Mexico. Swallowtail butterflies will be laying their eggs on fennel and parsley. They will emerge as caterpillars and then ultimately become butterflies.
Two pair of nesting wrens were apparently successful fledging their broods. Perhaps their young were nearby since I was greeted by a chorus of chattering wrens. The blue jay family is occupying the spruce trees and squawking loudly, concerned about something. Another birdhouse, previously occupied by evicted house sparrows, is now occupied by eastern bluebirds and mother bluebird is sitting on four eggs. The deer, raccoons, and rabbits who regularly visit us have left their calling cards. A chipmunk runs across my path. Its puffy cheeks full of seeds or berries. Dragonflies from the nearby pond are whizzing around feasting on insects.
Our prairie plants are about to burst forth. They have funny names like rattlesnake master, queen of the prairie, nodding onion, butterfly weed and iron weed. Our raspberries are beginning to ripen and we hope we can pick them before the lady who regularly passes by our patch eats them. Berries on the many native bushes like spice bush, red-twig dogwood and pagoda dogwood, are ripening for the birds who will feast on them. The serviceberry trees have been picked clean by robins, catbirds, cedar waxwings and chipmunks. When evening comes, hundreds of lightning bug visitors will be visible.
My stroll is over. Take your own stroll in a park or garden, or just sit outside and renew your relationship with nature. “Sit and be still until in the time of no rain you hear beneath the dry wind’s commotion in the trees the sound of flowing water among the rocks, a stream unheard before, and you are where breathing is prayer.” Wendell Berry.