I've lived on this third of a suburban acre for nearly a quarter-century, and yet I've rarely taken the time to check out what's sharing it with me. Besides a vast assortment of insects that reside on my property (given the bug-to-human ratio, I appear to be residing on theirs), there's a bewildering variety of flora, most of which I couldn't identify until I set about uprooting them.
Getting down and dirty is a humbling experience, if only because it reminds me that life -- and nature -- goes on without me whether I do anything about it or not. The grass grows whether or not I'm around to care for it, and if I don't fill in the bare spots, something else will.
The seasons progress on their own schedule, and if I fall behind in my landscaping duties, the landscape moves on without me. Weeding gives me the satisfaction of bringing order, however momentary, to one small corner of the cosmos. With pruning shears in hand, I can even reshape that corner, trimming an overgrown bush, balancing a lopsided flowering tree. If I have time and vision and fertilizer enough, I can create my own backyard arboretum.
John Powers The Boston Globe 9.21.03 More