If you spend your days with your nose in the news or on a computer, you’re missing out. You really are! There is so much wonder all around us that it’s hard not to be in awe. You don’t necessarily have to go to Montana or Oregon or other exotic place to find it either. Just take a walk through your neighborhood or a trip to the country.
Nature is all around us and in many forms. Most of us only ever see “perfectly” landscaped yards or planned landscapes. Landscapes designed to break up a commercial or industrial buildings. Symmetrical designs in ours or neighbor’s yard designed for perfection. How often do we get to focus on the beautiful design of our creator?
Many of us only ever see God’s design when we go hiking in a campground or for an outing in the park. For me, I just have to take a walk through my back yard. Our property sits in the center of a low spot in our area. The runoff from local homes and fields has created a natural pond. I would never recommend drinking the water in that pond (now transformed to a creek). However, all kinds of plant and animals thrive back there. We have frogs, snakes, mussels, geese, rabbits, possum, raccoons, to name a few. There is also an assortment of trees, such as: hickory, white willow, cottonwood, white pine, maple and several varieties of evergreen. For years the land has been allowed to develop on its own and I LOVE it!
This weekend I started my “reclamation” project of the area. For many, this would involved cleaning out everything and starting over with carefully selected trees or leveling the land and building structures–but not for me. I am taking more of a minimalist approach. It is my desire to retain the beauty naturally with a little “touch-up”. I wouldn’t say that I’m improving it–just making it a little easier to enjoy. On the south side of the creek bed, the growth is such that it’s nearly impassable. On the north side, there is only grass.
My plans include a path through the undergrowth where we can eventually navigate all the way around the property and see some of this hidden beauty. Currently, the entire area is overgrown by white willow trees and honeysuckle. These aren’t bad species to have around–quite the opposite, the honeysuckle smells wonderful. However, as I’ve started my path through the area, I’ve uncovered some nice evergreens and cottonwood that are currently being choked out. So, I’ve thinned some of the willow and honeysuckle trees to make room for the others.
The final product
As with all of my landscaping projects, I do have a final vision in mind for the area–not that I could put it to paper. When all is said and done, I expect to have a short little nature walk and observation area. I want to put in a few unobtrusive benches so that we can sit and observe the wildlife. For the most part, God will maintain plantings with a few exceptions. In particular one area where there is now an unobstructed view of our land. On the north side of the area, will be a small fruit orchard and wild-grass.
Every time I walk the property, my vision evolves ever so slightly. I’ve known for years that the land isn’t suitable for building. That is not to say that it’s unusable, but not for things I would put on it. The ultimate goal remains the same–to glorify not myself and abilities, but God’s creation. He placed me on this land and I will do my best to be a good steward of it. This will be a multi-year project, but I will eventually have my own little nature walk. Whenever I feel like I’m missing out, I’ll have that small spot! I may even allow others to experience it!