So about a year ago I took the plunge and bought a home. Not a ‘hobbity’ home, though I must admit it does have a bit of a Bag-endian charm to it. No, it was it ‘quirky’ home, which fits me well. It has a sunken living room with a wood-burning fireplace, three bedrooms, one bath, a small dining room, and nice kitchen. The basement is partially finished and the finished portion was large enough to hold an 8-foot pool table (a requirement). It came with all appliances, central air, and it’s in a nice quiet neighborhood. The back yard, which is smaller than the front, wraps around the house in an ‘L’ shape, and was heavily landscaped with perennials by the former owners.
One feature I didn’t pay that much attention to when considering whether to buy it or not was the patio directly off the back of the house. It’s quite large, about 10′ X 40′ and about two-thirds of that is covered. Earlier this year I went out and bought a couple of quality all-weather speakers and mounted them to the support beams holding up the patio roof. I rigged a laptop up to the receiver in the living room and can control iTunes and WinAmp on it from my iPhone. So as of late, I’ve found myself sitting outside on the patio, listening to music and just watching and thinking.
What’s surprised me is sheer detail and breadth of information one can discern and realize with just with casual observation. An example: Early on this spring, I realized the robins hopping and stopping about my yard were not in fact random visitors, but residents. It soon became clear to me they were the same two robins, a male and female. It also became clear that they considered me, and not them, the interloper on this property. Thankfully, they have proven to be easy going and gracious, and have not yet confronted me directly about my ‘trespassing’.
Another observation is that this neighborhood is home to a rather largish pack of feral tween-ish girls. Their shrieks and laughter can be heard echoing throughout the alleys and byways of the neighborhood during the gloaming hours. I’ve made occasional sights of their pack, which numbers about 12, but they’re quite skittish and run off laughing once they know they’ve been spotted. I think back to my childhood and how my parents would have us hunt for ‘Snipe’ to get us out of the house. I can’t help but imagine though, that they hunt for something more real…perhaps feral tweenish boys with Bieber-ish traits.
Something else I’ve come to realize is just how amazing nature is. My backyard came stocked with perennials and over the course of several weekends watering, weeding, cutting, and trying to maintain them, you notice things. Like how the flowers on a shrub by my garage are the perfect size for a bumblebee to fit into, and as they crawl in how it causes the stamens to bend inward ever so sightly and brush their backs with pollen. Yes, you read about this in high-school biology and see it on the Discovery Channel, but there is something intrinsically wonderful about seeing it just occur.
But really it’s the constant minutia of life that goes on about us every second of every day that we just never see or notice. Bumblebees flying constantly from flower to flower, and how they look like little striped, fuzzy, VW buses in flight; the cycle of the plants, from small shoots, to flower, to seed. Seeing 12 birds sitting on the phone cable, all waiting for me to finish writing this article and go inside so they can fly down to the bird feeder and eat without such uncouth and undesired company so nearby. Well, they’ve been patient, and I’m getting hungry, I think I’ll go in and let them eat in peace…even if one final observation I’ve made is that in reality, birds are really just little feathered pigs. I swear they must eat twice their body weight in birdseed.