Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Virtues of Yard Work

My roommate and I have two plants that border each side of the driveway. They are lush and green with lovely magenta blossoms at the end of their long stems that fold like origami. Unfortunately, they are hardy Florida plants hiding large thorns under soft leaves. They grow quickly and begin to make entry into the house difficult. Myra started to trim them one day but had to stop early due to stormy weather. A few days later I had some free time and decided to pick up where she left off.

After a few hours I was able to trim the plants down to a manageable size. By the end of it all I had to fight off hornets, throw out my ruined shoes, and tend to all the scrapes I received from the thorns. Despite all of that I actually enjoyed working on the yard.

The following day I decided to tackle the hedge. It was covered in vines that were beautiful and elegant. Unfortunately, they were preventing the actual hedge from receiving any sunlight. Armed with only my neighbors gloves and clippers I set to work.

At first I almost didn't see this shed snake skin tangled up in the vines. 

I love the contrast of this round, eye catching Lady Bug on a thin, spear shaped leaf. 

I snapped this photo of a Lubber Grasshopper exploring the newly uncovered hedge. I was surprised to see that the tips of her non-functional wings were missing. Because of their bad taste these grasshoppers have no natural predators. I wonder what trouble she got into. 

Another Lubber Grasshopper exploring a tree in the yard - its face pressed almost comically against a sprouting branch. 

After I had removed a patch of vines I found this open egg nestled in the leaves of the hedge. Although I am not completely sure I think it might have been the egg of a snake. A few moments before I came across it I witnessed a large Black Racer slither across our window ledge. 

Around the side of our house is a little something I refer to as the "bean stalk". The vines have attached themselves to a small piece wire and keep growing skyward. It is the only place on the house where the vines have been able to grow vertically.

This is the view from our backyard at dusk. We border a wooded area which sets the stage for some stunning sunsets. 

When my roommate got home she asked my why I had spent so much time in the yard. I stopped and thought for a moment. I realized that I wasn't sure. 

"You know, I have no idea" I started off. "Maybe it was because I've lived in apartments for so long. I don't think I've had a yard since I lived at my parents place."
"Do you like to garden?" she asked
"Not really. I'm not home often and I don't feel like I have much of a green thumb." 
She was puzzled. "But you where out here for hours" 
"Maybe my body just craved being outside."

I started to think about all the time I spend indoors at work or on the computer. I'm always thinking about the next thing I have to do. I also spend a lot of time just lost in thought. It felt good to be outside and moving on instinct. Out of my head and using my hands. No thoughts in particular. No imagination running wild. Just a pair of dirty gloves and the great outdoors. 

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