On occasion, as a child, I awoke in the twin bed in the bedroom I shared with my two older sisters, to the moo of a cow staring in my bedroom window. It was surprising and a bit frightening at first, but then somehow natural to find Grandma’s cows greeting us on a summer morning. As an adult, I now realize that cows escaping the pasture to explore the adjacent backyard where the children played while they grazed was something that not all children experience.
Growing up in the country was something I took for granted and I guess still do. My son’s girlfriend, Bethany, was visiting with him for the weekend, and as we sat outside on the patio of the house that I grew up in and then raised my own children in, we gazed out at the pasture. We spotted a deer at the edge of the woods. Then the Robin who had been guarding the nest she had built on the back porch light paced back and forth on the roof sparking a discussion of birds.
“How do you know what all these birds are?” She asked. “I mean, I know a Robin, but that’s about it.”
“We’re country people.” I stated matter-of-factly. We are in touch with nature. I went on to ask Bethany if her two children had spent much time in the country, as she was bringing them for a visit the next weekend.
“No, we’ve driven through it, but that’s about it.” She stated.
It was at that point that I felt an overwhelming sense of luck. Luck for having been raised in the country and the good fortune of having been able to raise my own kids in the same beloved setting.
Later in the day, after our son, Drew, and Bethany headed back to the city, my husband, Mike and I went to town to attend a local art show and to get an ice cream cone. On a whim, I suggested we go to the park to eat our treats. We sat at a picnic table and the sun warmed our backs and sent drips running down my cone. Mike commented on the nice trees that parks seem to have. As I looked around in appreciation of the setting, I wondered why we didn’t go there more often and then chuckled inside. We live in a park setting with flowers and green expanses of grass right outside our back door. And within walking distance there are woods with trails and a creek. I guess you don’t seek out what you already have.
Later, I remembered that at the art show, I had complimented an artist on his painting entitled, “Backyard Eden,” and the artist had given me a postcard size print of the painting. I had been touched by his gift. As I gazed at the postcard in the car on the way to the ice cream Shoppe, I commented to my husband that the painting exudes that artist’s love of his backyard.
I guess you could call this the “Backyard Day.” What is it that they say? Happiness lies in one’s own backyard.