I’m moved into my backyard for the season. My flowers are starting to bloom enough for me to make small bouquets of fresh loveliness for myself every few days. I’ve been writing again in the early morning hours with my coffee and I find that there are so many life lessons that can be gleaned from where I sit and watch. No need to go too far afield. Of course, I love going far afield, but these past few weeks, it seems the lessons and magic abound right here at home.
My lawn is coming in nicely, greening up, ready to preen for the hotter months. The overabundance of rain has seen to that. I do have a few large patches of dead grass though. Not very pretty. But I’ve planted grass seed and turned the soil over, so now the dead spots are highlighted by the darker soil.
Now, a few years ago, I would have brooded over those spots. I would have focused, worried, obsessed and pointed out to everyone who sat with me in my backyard oasis, look how ugly those dead spots make everything look and how they ruin everything!
But this year, I don’t mind them. In fact, I think I’ve made some peace with them. They are needed, those dead spots and weeds. The rest of my yard is green. My flowers are blooming. My patio is a damn haven. Look at what is going right in my yard. What’s a few dead spots? What’s a few weeds. It’s the weeds that remind us there is still work that can be done, that we’re not perfect nor are we meant to be perfect. “Seek to be whole, not perfect.”
Of course this has been a closely linked metaphor for life. And I’m grateful for that.
Some Robins are building nests in a tree nearby. The other day, a squirrel got too close to the patio and our little dog was so excited about the possibility of a new friend – even if he did get into his stalking prey crouch in order to make the new friend and eventually bounded at said squirrel who at heart attack pace ran the only way he could; into the Robin’s tree. The dog happily sat beneath the tree, because maybe his new friend wouldn’t be able to hide out for too long and just fall into his mouth for a kiss. The Robins screeched angrily at the intrusion. Other birds started swooping at the tree in solidarity with the disrupted Robins. Eventually, the Squirrel hugged the side of the tree trunk, took a deep squirrel breath and bounded across the yard, with a dog hot on his trail.
I don’t think there were any lessons in that, other than I caught a glimpse of why so many scientists have had the patience to sit quietly in forested landscapes in order to watch wildlife in an attempt to better understand them.
One thing I find fascinating, is that in the cul-de-sac area we live, our backyard meets up with four houses, and beyond two of our neighbor’s yards, are the yards of people who live in different neighborhood cul-de-sacs. I’ve never driven down those roads to figure out how it all fits together. I did google map it this morning though.
Every day, I am greeted by the sounds of my quiet space, lovely birds chirping, twittering, fluttering, gossiping away the dawn. The soundtrack lifts me up somehow. But there are a few seconds every morning, when the hacking morning cough of a gentleman a few yards over, in a neighborhood that isn’t mine, can be heard.
I don’t know if I’ll ever meet this person. Yet we share the same chorus, the same weather. We both have a love for our area of town, otherwise why would be both be so taken to spending our morning hours in our back yards?
This thought process coincides with a lot of the ideas that keep coming up in the things I’ve been reading lately. The main idea is this: We are all connected.
Sometimes this is a tangible idea, and others, it’s as woo woo as this declaration seems to me sometimes: We are all energy and all that energy is connected.
It’s a great big idea, but for some reason, as I smile at the dead spots in my yard, listen to the neighborhood sounds and wait for my unseen neighbor to clear the phlegm from his throat, it makes sense.
To take it further, I’ve read recently that the breath you breathe on a daily basis, is shared the world over by everyone. And this has been going on for eons. Sam Kean wrote this book called Caesar’s Last Breath. He delves into the science (and history) of the air we breathe.
“With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you’re probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra’s perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe’s creation.”
It’s a fascinating idea. I haven’t gone too deep down that rabbit hole. I have read a few of the arguments for and against the science.
You can take an almost sacred view on the air we breathe, can’t you? Throughout time and space, all of us being connected by the simple act of breathing is pretty phenomenal. For me, it makes me feel a bit less lonely. Of course, there is also the wherewithal to feel highly insignificant at the same time.
I’ll be ruminating on these concepts for a while, that’s for sure.
But I won’t be the first one to contemplate this idea that we are all connected. Some of my favorite men and women (whose breath I am taking in at the moment) have had thoughts on our connected-ness.
“To develop a complete mind: Study the art of science; study the science of art. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else” – Leonardo DaVinci
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” -John Muir
“The truth is, we are all one connected thing; we are all from the same exact molecules.” – Ellen DeGeneres
“We are all connected. To each other biologically. To the earth chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.” –Neil deGrasse Tyson
Even John F. Kennedy in his Commencement address at American University in Washington, D. C. on June 10, 1963 said:
“So, let us not be blind to our differences. But let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
“If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.”
― Chief Seattle
I could go on and on, there are so many lovely quotes and ideas about being connected that I keep coming across; but I’ve got to get back to writing and editing.
Personally, this all comes full circle in the idea of the book. How many times have I read a book, and found myself connected to another across the vast expanse of our worlds? I love that, and I love that as I write my own books and short stories, I am creating something that someone will share with me, be it today, tomorrow or a few hundred years from now. I love that in my way, I am able to leave a breath of my life that will connect us both for a brief time.
“In the end, we’ll all become stories.”- Margaret Atwood