This week thanks to a little bench purchased at Nashville's recent lawn and garden show I've found a space and place in my front yard tucked between rhododendron and an oak leaf hydrangea.
The first day I sat on the bench I realized I was surrounded by blossoms, last summer's dried blossoms from the surrounding flowering bushes. Spring is near yet I noticed another of Nature's phases mirroring what is labeled death. Yet death is another aspect of life, letting go, sweet surrender and return to Earth.
The second morning I noticed buds and leaves of green. I did not set out to be a botanist when I arrived with coffee, paper and pen in hand. I came out to listen and be yet there I sat mesmerized, filled with awe and wonder.
Early Americans came to mind, those like John James Audubon who studied birds and their habitats and John Bartram who studied plants.
Then I thought of the other early Americans, men who killed millions of birds so women could wear feathers and wings in their hats and hair in the name of fashion. I thought of the forests razed, cleared for crops, home supplies and heating.
Did these early Americans realize they were living in paradise?
I laid aside my paper and pen and opened to the paradise around me in the barren limbs above and brown leaves at my feet. I spoke aloud, "I appreciate you and thank you for being here."
No sooner had these word been said than I heard a rustling. A mouse or fairy or a mouse acting as a fairy or a fairy acting as a mouse moved along in the leaves for two or three feet and I smiled.
It is chilly at least for now on this side of my house, yet Paradise without reminds me of the paradise within. My insides are warmed by the colors, sights and sounds on this small spot of Mother Earth.
There is deep beauty in this small space and an unexpected grace in finding the new and hearing the messages offered by Nature in a space in which I've lived for twenty years.
Earth offers itself to us.
I imagine a world of people noticing, seeing with new eyes and hearing with new ears. I imagine a world of people turned on by the living, breathing pulsing presence of life in this Earthly paradise.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 9 March 2013