I love to sit in my backyard – just taking in whatever I see, hear, and feel. This practice is called the “sit-spot” – a technique used by naturalists to immerse themselves in the experience of a chosen location in nature, to get to know the flora and fauna in a much more intimate way.
My eyes captured the movement of a bird, hopping on the ground. It was clearly an insect eater – small, with a long, pointed beak. I wanted it to come closer, but it slipped through the lattice work of the fence to my neighbor’s yard. I decided that if I wanted to know this bird better, why not be like a bird?
I sat on the grass and looked down to see what a bird could eat there. Much to my surprise, several creatures gradually emerged. Two tiny black beetles with a shiny, copper iridescence on their backs; a number of gnats hovering around; some other miniscule winged insect; a tiny white winged insect; and, of course, the familiar rolly-pollies.
While fingering through the blades to discover more insects, I spied some weeds growing in my lawn, and decided to start pulling them up. Slowly I worked, my fingers digging down into grass and dead oak leaves, gently grasping and tugging. I knew I wasn’t always getting the root, but I didn’t care. I wanted to finish this trail that led me about a foot and a half away, carefully removing each renegade I found.
After finishing this area, I ambled over to the flower bed I had worked on a few days ago. A similar ground cover to baby’s tears had invaded this area, where my campanula was growing. They have very similar leaves – the baby’s tears were slightly thinner, and the spiked edges were a bit brownish. I was able to distinguish them from the Campanula also by the fact that they interconnected like a web: as I pulled up one area, it had shoots that spread over and connected to another.
As I uprooted the invasive plant, more creatures were revealed; a creamy-brown, multi-footed creature, and an earthworm, who was quite displeased, wiggling about in frustration as I had disturbed its resting place.
It took some time, but I cleared another small area of the bed, and felt pleased at the little achievement. I can see why people love to garden. It is simple, quiet, and grounding. I feel rooted and alive.
The textures, smells, sounds, the humble creatures that visit our backyard, and the new foliage unfolding every day awaken my senses and deepen my connection to this little patch of nature. When I’m willing to be like a bird, a whole new world opens up to me.
What do you experience when you allow yourself to be like a bird?
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