Most everything is planted in the garden now. My job going forward will be mostly to weed and to water and to wait. Some of the seeds will not sprout. Some of the plants will whither and fade. (This is the last year I’m trying rhubarb. For 3 years now, I have planted and watered and not had anything come back the next year. Might have to do some reading about that.)
Bugs will eat the cucumber leaves to within an inch of survival. Japanese beetles will descend on the raspberries mid-summer and I will spend hours picking them off and dropping them into soapy water. Rain will not fall enough. Rain will flood. White butterflies will lay eggs that turn into worms that will eat the cabbage and cauliflower. And the weeds will take every opportunity to hog the nutrients from the soil and suffocate the vegetables and fruits.
Still, I cannot walk away. It’s hard for me to imagine an act more basic than growing my own food. In the early morning the birds chirp overhead. The air is fresh. Dew on the grass seems like a twinkle of paradise.
One morning a red-tailed hawk perched so close to me, I could almost hear her breathe. She glanced casually at me and hopped over to the ground squirrel hole. She cocked her head comically and peered inside. Squirrels are hiding deep today. With a final glance at me, she lifted herself back off the ground and flew back to her nest. Maybe later.
Another evening, no one was around, as I puttered and weeded. The skies were a heavy gray and the air was thick. Silence enveloped me. The raspberry branches reached for me in the breeze. I stood upright and looked to the skies. At that very moment a lone sandhill crane flew overhead. As it passed directly over me it made several warning cries. “Storm!! Seek shelter!!” was what I heard from the crane, though at the time, no words formed in my head. It was simple instinct. A moment later I saw the lightening in the distance. By that time I was already packed to go back home. Minutes after arriving a storm blew in that knocked down trees and cut electricity, causing hail and torrents of wind and rain.
I have no doubt the crane was communicating. I have no doubt I got the message.
Maybe nature communicates with us all the time. Maybe we’re not always listening. Maybe listening to the birds is good for us.