Yes, it’s one tree!

I’m acutely aware of babbling these days. Not the soothing babbling brook kind, but the sound of my own voice — droning on and on and on. As people hunker down in their own cocoons under Stay-at-Home orders, the growing silence has made me aware of my own voice more than ever! Face-to-face conversation is my favorite thing so every minute with a person is a treasure, even if it is 6’ away. When I do happen on a human, happy adrenaline rushes in and keeps my lips moving without permission.

Morning walks around the neighborhood are quiet. No cars rushing by, no deafening mowers or blowers. Even runners jogging by with ear buds in place don’t wave like in the old days — 2 months ago! Not even a glance my way, lest my cooties shoot out from my eyes. Life is serious.

All of this silence felt lonely at first but, as nature lovers already know, there are perks to shrinking your world down to your own place. More free time means noticing every little thing. I’ve taken to roaming around my own yard, monitoring the daily changes in the spring landscape, and can only image what millions of parents at home full-time with kids are now noticing about their own children. Maybe for the first time.

stay-at-home-order-allows-nature-inWriting about nature isn’t my bent, but this benefit of being homebound is screaming for my attention. The Dogwood tree above takes the prize in my neighborhood. Oh yes, this magnificent cherry across the street still takes your breath away, but a two-toned Dogwood tickles the creative side of my brain.

I’ve possibly been a nature lout most of my life. (“Possibly” is an important word here.) People-connections have always been most important to me but this watching nature is really taking hold. I remember vividly when Bill told me his mother spent time every day counting the number of times hummingbirds pooped at her porch feeder. 5 per perch! No one ever had to tell HER to slow down, nature was in her blood!

Nature isn’t the only thing I’ve noticed with more time on my hands. Spiders have been running amok in the house while I’ve been too busy to notice. I’m learning to look up, where cobwebs drape around light fixtures like they belong there. I’m learning to look down, where Charlotte’s lattice work connected the couch to the baseboard. The layer of dust under the beds has laced together with strands of hair, making a fine and fragile layer of mesh. Finally, it takes 20 steps to get from one end of my house to the other. Clearly, I have too much time on my hands!

Weeded out this week: Those early voices in my head that have always measured my worth by my accomplishments. Learning to value just watching, doing nothing.