Outsideness, rabbits and Alice Cooper

May 14, 2009

We’re now in our third year in this house and yard and it’s only just now starting to feel like our place, if you know what I mean. We’ve done quite a bit of painting and so on inside the place, and we have most certainly spread ourselves (and our stuff) into every available corner. The outside has been a little behind, though, and this is the year that we started fixing that: vegetable garden, herbs, and so on. It’s nice, occasionally, to slip outside during the day and take a look at things – maybe pluck a weed or two. Working from home does have this perk, unwilling though I may be to take advantage of it. There are plenty of days where I go into my office at around 7:30, emerge for about 10 minutes at lunch, then disappear again until 5 or 6 in the evening. Other days I’m on the road seeing prospects and customers, and may be gone for a day or two at a time.

Yeah, I know. Cry you a river. After all, I’m still not commuting on a daily basis.

In any case, my point is this: it’s too easy for me to see the outside as someplace as a destination for escape, rather than as The Real World that I have to leave periodically in order that I might work. It ought not be so, especially when the weather has been so agreeable of late. My job, like many, has a fair amount of nonsense associated with it, and it’s clear to me that an occasional re-rooting outside is essential. It might be just a few moments of studying the sky – I’ve become pretty good at predicting coming rain by watching cloud patterns. Or it might be a few minutes turning – blech – the compost mound (which is still over-hot and over-green, and so it smells pretty bad at the moment).

Our landscape is rich with opportunities for nature studies and observation. True, we live in a suburb, and while it’s not as wooded as our last place, our home is near the edge of town, and so we’re on the cusp of some of the area farmlands. The buffers between the fields, along with the streams and river forks, form a sort of webwork of ecological boundaries. I’ve seen deer, turkeys, rabbits, skunks, turtle, snakes and all manner of songbird on my occasional bike rides. What might be seen at a slower pace – or even standing still – beggars the imagination. Cultivating the habit of mindful observation of natural and built landscapes is something that we – I –  need to work on.

In other news, the tomatoes had aphids. I sprayed them all with soapy water and that seems to have knocked them all out for now. We’ll see. I’m still catching the occasional rabbit in the yard, though I think it’s because the wee ones are leaving the gate open. The neighbors (and my spouse) are occasionally subjected to my suddenly breaking out in a screaming arm-waving  run, and there’s  be some rabbit, sitting there and chewing on a leaf, not taking the least notice until I’m just about on top of him. Then he bolts, and I chase him around our yard widdershins until he can find the gate and make an escape. Great fun for everyone except the rabbit, who crosses the road then resumes eating, nonplussed.

The almanac says that tomorrow will be one minute and thirty-seven seconds longer than today. Use the time wisely. Use it to say an Ave, a Salve Regina or an Alma Mater Redemptoris – May is the Marian Month. The current moon is waning gibbous. The next full moon is the Full Strawberry Moon – go eat some strawberries! We bought some as part of a Mother’s Day brunch around here and they were gigantic. Since I know you’re wondering, the children are fine. Two of them are off with my parents, so we’re down to only five right now. The house seems a little too quiet, but we know they’re having fun.

Finally, an absolutely, positively random item. I listened to Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies all the way through for the first time in 20+ years and was surprised at two things. First, it holds up pretty well. Second, the songs came off like the soundtrack of some modern theatrical musical. Something about the production quality and the lyrics. Just need a quick libretto and a few million in financing. Hey – if they can do it for ABBA, I can do it for Alice. Any angels out there? Call me.

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