We lived for 10 years on two acres of gently sloping land in the Sierra Foothills, forming an intimate relationship with the many plants growing and living and languishing there. Since we downsized to a small house on a small lot in town, people have frequently asked if I miss it. There are some really great things about living smaller, especially within walking distance of our historic downtown. It was time to simplify our finances, our workload and our stress. For those reasons and more, it was the right decision. But the answer is yes. I miss the privacy and the space but mostly I miss the relationship to the flora and fauna that thrived and waned and expired there. I miss living so fully in the midst of her cycles. I think that place misses me too.
The following was written in response to a prompt last December when participating in Tracking Wonder's Quest 2016, a thought-provoking group writing experience. Her lessons comfort me, gently recalled by leaves in the breeze, the rainbow twinkling in a back lit drop of rain clinging to a branch, the cacophony of frogs croaking along the side of the road in early March...
They miss my daily stroll, my checking in on them to see and feel and smell how they have changed. The wild flowers miss my knowing where they will come up in each year's spring and how I make the rounds looking for the first signs of them. The Japanese maples miss my hand-picking every single pine needle out of them, some of which have pierced their leaves, impaling them as they dropped. I removed them even though they were adorable, like miniature icicles hanging there suspended. I enjoy a disordered order, but the maples must be allowed their grace. They miss my loosing their helicopter seeds from the porch to watch them twirl down and down. They even miss my shears--sometimes delicate, sometimes ruthless. The paths miss my rake, unearthing them every fall even though only I really knew or cared that they were there. They miss my boots slogging through the meadow so that I can relieve the labyrinth of fallen branches after the storm and walk it's circles once again.
The hydrangeas miss my clippers and the chance to come inside to stand in all their glory. The bamboo misses my vigorous shake, oak leaves tumbling over me with a rattle. The moss misses my touch, so dry and scratchy in summer and spongy-wet after rain. Their impossible green misses my gaze and my wonder at its brightness.
The ponds miss my contemplation. The wisteria misses my drinking in her intoxicatingly sweet fragrance. The trees miss my excitement when they rain leaves in the fall breeze all across the yard or when the steam rises off of them in the morning sun. The acorns miss my annual collection, especially the ones with the velvet golden hats. I know they all miss me even though they are being taken care of properly. No one could have loved them quite like I did.