Saturday, July 20, 2013

Wings To Fly

It is often said that the most important thing we can give our children is roots to grow and wings to fly. Nature teaches us this lesson everyday. Born under our deck are three baby birds getting ready to leave the nest. They have their game faces on. They are quiet and stoic as they wait patiently for just the right time to make their solo flight. They have grown plump over the past few weeks and now barely fit in the nest. Mama bird scolds me when I get too close or turn on the outdoor silcock  to fill up the watering can. The heat from the sun is oppressive this time of year, but she was smart and picked the perfect home under the deck. Every year she returns, ( I like to believe it is really her!) back to her summer cottage to start a new family.
However, in the midst of this idyllic place lurks danger. Her nest lies in the middle of the dog enclosure. These are not just any dogs but RETRIEVERS!  Dogs trained on pheasant wings & bumpers. The first time one of my male goldens caught a mourning dove mid-flight, my jaw dropped. What  precision! 
I am torn between admiration for my dog’s instinct and empathy for a mother’s devotion. 
So here the story ends. In my dreams, I see them spread their wings and fly free but I know I cannot control the future. Some things are better left to chance.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Secret Garden

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring- it was peace."

-Milan Kundera

In July, the gardens at Aquinna are in full bloom. The black & white of winter is replaced with a brilliant, intense color. When the thunder clouds roll across the ridge, the yellow mass of Stella De Oro daylilies, Gold Barberry & Purple Plum tree look photoshopped on a carpet of green grass.
We have finally reclaimed the northwest corner of our property. Gone are the bramble bushes that made it impassable. The June 2011 tornado took away several large oaks, and in exchange gave us dappled light & sun. Hidden behind a rainforest canopy of crab apples I could see possibilities, where before there were none. At the base where the thorny bushes once stood, I planted soft kentucky bluegrass. To anchor the steep sections of land, I planted Blue Star, Blue Rug & Dwarf Procumbens juniper. I chose a pastel palette of pink, purple and blue; Hydrangea, Perfect Pink Glory & Stephanie Returns daylilies, Astilbe, Wine & Roses weigela, PJM , Purple Gem & Olga Mezitt rhododendron, Veronica Speedwell & Nathan Hale mountain laurel. For tranquility, I planted Elijah Blue fescue and Gracillimus maiden grass. For the open gaps and gentle breeze the tornado left behind, I hung a Bali wind chime on a low branch of crab apples. At the top of the hill, overlooking a canopy of ancient oaks, I will put a teak bench someday. Then, I will sit with my dogs up there on the hill and for a brief moment in time, we will be back in Eden.