Monday, August 2, 2010

Early Morning

One of my favorite times of day comes early, before the children stir. My backyard retreat summons me for fellowship, before midsummer heat burns away the hush of daybreak.

I get lost in my yard, mesmerized by tending to the tomatoes and herbs, inspecting the beans and watermelons, listening for messages being spoken by the trees and saplings: A little more water, please. Could you remove these bug-eaten leaves? Look, I've got a praying mantis guardian!

After a weekend of weeding, pruning, and repotting, this morning offers a chance to simply enjoy the moment. Six jalapenos will be ready to harvest by the end of the week. Two fresh tomato plants seem to be adapting well to their new, larger containers. Three tiny clumps of perennials will apparently survive being shared from Miss ReNeau's yard to mine: after only two days, one has already opened a new flower.

The hummingbirds have finally found us this summer, now that construction is nearly complete on the row of houses behind us. A pair of them dart here and there, taking advantage of our nectar feeder while I inspect my domain. A garter snake escorts me from the tomato containers to the herb box, escaping my notice until he has nearly reached the tall grass cover under the herbs.

Four crepe myrtles, anchors of this young landscape, continue to lend their graceful beauty to my boxy suburban oasis, while they offer needed shelter to sparrows and mockingbirds. Other than Miss ReNeau's garden paradise next door, no trees yet reside on our block. Showy clusters of pink blossoms attract butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees.

The bees thrill me the most. We need pollinators to have a productive garden. The only way I got more than a pair of watermelons this summer was by pollinating the flowers myself with a cotton swab one morning. Within a week I suddenly had five more going.

My goal is to have a flower garden full of colorful pollinator attractions all season long, which will hopefully increase the yield on the tomatoes, peppers and melons. And this morning's sighting of buzzy bees carrying their bags of pollen from flower to flower offers me the confidence that we are already beginning to accomplish that goal.

All too quickly, my solitude comes to an end. The children begin to leak into the yard, the smell of coffee lures me back indoors for breakfast duty, and the magical moment evaporates with the dew.

I carry the memory of early morning with me into the day, along with my silent promise to return tomorrow.

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