It happened so quickly: a flutter of wings, a white flash..and then I saw them…two cavorting butterflies, cabbage whites, I think. Fluttering all around me; my head and legs, coming so close I can feel the gentle breeze on my face created by the fritterings of their little wings. I sit as still as I can and take in this surreal and glorious moment. Then just as abruptly as they appear they flutter off together into the blue October sky. It was quite a moment and strange as it sounds I got the idea they were thanking me for something. A place to cavort perhaps. A resting place amid the growing greenness in this nondescript urban oasis that is my backyard. A wildish place of ordered chaos. A pesticide-free zone with a little bit for everyone. Native plants and more. Providing nectar and seeds and shelter and safe spots to forage with berries and tomatoes and lots of tasty bugs and worms.
A respite from the lifeless urban jungle of hard concrete and indifference.
These moments bring me such joy; my encounters with the urban wildlife that visit my garden. There are the squirrels who compete for nuts with the squawky jays. They are beautifully blue and like to fly from rooftop to rooftop swooping down in the yard hunting and catching insects.
Along with the white butterflies, there are bees galore, buzzing from here to there, intermixed with hover-flies which seem to defy gravity. These beneficial insects love the sweet asylum that seeds itself freely and grows every summer against the southern wall that borders the driveway. This once barren slab of cement now teems with exuberant life. The other side is filled with a hodgepodge of annuals and perennials.
It resembles more of a science experiment than a tidy yard. I’ve never been a very tidy person but the urban fauna doesn’t seem to mind.
And as the season progresses and as October turns to November my time in the garden has decreased in fact admittedly, it has been nearly a week since I have been back here. I take advantage of a much needed sunny day and plan to spend some time working and appreciating. All the work I do know will pay off next Spring.
Of course I leave much of the wildness for the urban wildlife who will winter here.
All the remain of the once vibrant yellow Susans are the jet black seed pods which the chickadees and finches have been devouring with a flourish.
I am always reflective this time of year and I do much of my reflecting back here. The fuchsia is still blooming and the Pineapple Sage is in it’s full glory. It’s scarlet spires provide nectar to the hummingbirds which still visit as the season progresses and progresses it does. The leaves have changed and many have fallen to the ground. I can hear them crunch under my feet. My mind goes back to the white butterflies and my brief encounter with them just a couple weeks ago. I haven’t seen any since. Our next meeting will have to wait for Spring when they return. And so will the Canada Geese that I hear flying overhead, their distinct honking flooding the sky with such riotous sound. This brings me back to Autumn’s past. It is these living harbingers of winter who make me sit and pause and reflect upon life and time. It will be the Geese again who will prompt the same reflection upon their return.
And now it is my turn to say thank you to the fantastic world around us. From the smallest proton to the largest supernova…from the tiny microbe in the soil to the hummingbird to the black and white house cat to the awestruck and humbled human. We are all connected and what a beautiful thing is that.
Have a fantastic day!
“…Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”