American Backyard

Is there ever a week unscathed by tragedy? From losing the genius of Kate Spade to a Supreme Court that ruled against same-sex cakes to Trump’s continuously rancorous tweets embarrassing the America our grandparents worked and lived and died to shape, and that’s just the stuff of yesterday. That’s not even the abuse or despair or neglect or poverty or dead-ends so many Americans are facing this very minute every single day. Twice this week we tried to watch the evening news, but as the lead stories were homicide, actually there were two one night, we decided to pass. Sure I want to be informed, but I’d like to know about the good too. Like how some start-up was giving back to their community, or a couple on the verge of divorce thought maybe their two kids were worth another go and called a therapist for communication help or maybe someone decided to stop eating sugar and processed foods, and now a year later many of their ill-health issues are abated? Or how about the local high school students who stood in the doorway, greeting everyone who entered with a smile? All of this happens every day, over and over, in all of our communities, but it’s only a footnote that wraps up the news hour. Never the headliner. Never the grabber. Is it that we can’t get enough of drama? Even watching a tennis match the announcers slip in divisive tidbits about the players, as if their 106 mph service shot isn’t enough to hold our attention.

Thankfully I have a backyard. Hopefully you do too. Or a park. Or any space with a tree or two. Where the sky shines down and shows you some green all lit up with that gold. And you can breathe.

dandelions in the sunshine

In my neighborhood people tend to their lawns themselves. They plant their own window boxes. Weed their front flower gardens and grow veggies in the raised bed out back. There is pride in my America. Not the kind that propagates hate for those different than themselves, although they might need to rethink some of their old language. On weekends you see folks out with mowers, hauling mulch, greening up their acreage. You see day-lilies being divided and traded for lupines. You see tulips dying down while bleeding hearts grow up. You can smell lilac and apple blossoms and then peonies and sweet peas. This is my evening news, the kind of stuff that happens in real life.

flowers in a windowbox

For me it’s about creating little spots to sit with a morning cup of tea, and another for the afternoon brew. A round table on the back deck to share with friends over dinner. A pile of special rocks and a splash of pink are just about all I need as I watch the hosta leaves grow bigger than I thought possible. The dew beads along the ridges and slowly drips and yeah, that’s all the news I need come Saturday morning as I plot a few free hours to unwind after a long week. Right? You too?

buddha and flowerpot

Of course my neighborhood has some big spaces too. Where the apple trees are wild and someone mows a walking path to the edge of the hill where the mountain range looks even better. It is often here that I remember that we need to think of everyone on this planet. We need to think of everyone in our shared America. We need to protect backyards and front yards and the values of people living in between. That’s big trust. That’s the end of corporations being considered sacrosanct, and instead allowing humans who are underserved for whatever the reason rise to the top of our leader board. Caring about air and water and spaces and opportunity. Can you envision that world? Try…

mowed path on a grassy field

What drama can you let go of? What can you create for yourself? Out of the dust and ash, what can you see anew? This America is still ours. It need not be a land of violent news stories. But a place for us to heal and grow. For us to bloom. To summer.

girl in the sunshine with a black hat


3 thoughts on “American Backyard

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