Saturday, July 16, 2016

My New Backyard: A Miracle

Click here for video.
Week 3 of Gratitude Miracles ended yesterday … and, fittingly enough, with a miracle.

I moved to Grass Valley a little over a year ago. It’s a lovely area … tall pine forests, lakes and more cultural activities than any one person could possibly do in a normal week. Last year I was too busy refurnishing the house (I had downsized drastically on my last move, including all my furniture) and getting organized to pay much attention to the postage-stamp, bare dirt back yard fringed with solid ivy.

As the rains ended this spring, I started paying attention to the yard which borders on the office/pool area of the funky, mobile home park where I live (I liken it to camping in a forest … operative word: affordable). A friend was visiting one lovely day and I invited him to help me clear the yard of the ivy. He really got into it and started clearing some of the office lot that borders mine.

When I realized how much that extra space opened up my possibilities, the wheels started turning.

I realized some time ago that I have a “Photoshop mind.” It works in layers. I never have a clear idea of what the end point will be, but, if I take the first step … the first layer … then something calls me to the next one. Well, my first layer was figuring out what to do with the ton of rocks and mosaic yard art I had moved. (I had room for rocks but not for furniture.)

I’ve always wanted a rock garden so the pile of rocks were moved one-by-one to a point just beyond my lot. I figured if someone complained, I could always move them back. My local grocery store was selling some large pots for a very reasonable price so I put one of them in the midst of the rocks. A Japanese maple planted in that pot made a great focus point and boundary marker … and was also moveable, just in case.

And, that’s the way it went, one layer leading to the next. Yesterday probably wasn’t the last layer, but it was the one that made me realize I now had a real outdoor living area, including a moderately enclosed area for qigong so I wouldn’t feel like I was in a fishbowl, a table for eating or potting plants, a bright conversation area, and a rock/succulent garden altar complete with a rather beaten up but beautiful Quan Yin.

As I was sitting admiring the yard yesterday, I thought back over all the yards I’ve had and realized that this one is absolutely the best. It fits me … shady places to sit and enjoy the breezes or read, a place to meditate and do qigong, tiny spots of color and greenery that don’t overtask my brown thumbs … and close enough to the wifi that I can sit outside and work.

Even with all of that, It wasn’t until I was describing my yard to a friend this morning that I realized it was a miracle. (Mainly because she told me it was one.) 

Not only does it make me happy, it adjusted perfectly to all the yard stuff I’ve been carrying around for far too long, and it called synchronicities into being … from my friend who cleared enough ivy that I could see what might be, to a yard sale that offered me a dozen round stepping stones that were exactly what I didn’t know I needed, and five English laurel bushes that the previous owner had planted in a perfectly straight (and perfectly legal) line in the middle of the yard and are now transplanted to a graceful circle (outside my lot boundary) and will someday form a privacy hedge.

My friend reminded me that miracles are easy to miss. We have to watch for them and feel immense gratitude for them. Because I was working to pull this yard together, I didn’t think of it as a miracle. I forgot all the magic that went into it … the unused available space, the perfect mixture of trees that provide shade at all times of the day, the impulse to save way too many yard items in past moves, and my own willingness to take this step-by-step approach to creating exactly the outdoor environment I was longing for.

Above is video of my back yard miracle. I can hardly wait to hear about your miracles.

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