Then and Now

Eleven years ago my little urban backyard was empty of all but one lovely lilac, two feisty forsythias, and a patch of crabgrass.

I’m no gardener, but I planted a few things here and there, built a deck and a fence and a picnic table and a shed or two, and let a few things grow:

A little spruce seedling my neighbour to the south gave me; a chunk of a raspberry root from the neighbour to the north.; bushes for the butterflies that once were everywhere.

I did the receiving, the digging, the hammering and the composting. Nature did the growth and death and rejuvenation and fertility, and Time did the rest.

The beloved old Manitoba maple came down, a victim of trunk-rot and a possible vendetta. My stuff sprawled a bit. The place got scruffy, the good kind of scruffy I like to think. Why mow a lawn when you can harvest plantain?

This week at the height of summer, I found myself picking handfuls of raspberries beneath a white spruce tree nearly twenty feet tall.

As I was appreciating the bounty and the beauty of the moment, a beautiful brown-and-orange butterfly landed on my arm. A miracle!

I am starting to know the meaning of patience.

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