Sitting on my patio in the early morning cool, immersed in the smell of smoke from wildfires located nearby, I am enjoying the quiet. Sad to say, the smoke from that fire and another that popped up last week have become part of the fabric of the city. This photo (below) was taken at 10 am on September 4.
The intensity of the smoke sometimes makes me want to seek out and wear a mask which reminds me of the other issues in our world right now. With orange-tinted skies, ash falling to the ground and the feeling of early evening when it is only 10am is not the world I want to live in. Of course, 2020 has handed me several items that were never on my agenda before.
This photo (below) was taken at 5:15 pm September 5, 2020. It looks like dusk but the smoke has obscured any light from the sun.
I’ve connected with my outdoor patio more this summer than any other before. Maybe because I am home more. Maybe because I want to avoid being around others. Maybe because I have an excuse to pull away and isolate. Maybe because I’ve turned it into a green sanctuary where black-capped chickadees feel welcome. Where hibiscus, spider, ivy and rubber tree plants create a green haven for them and a focal point for me.
This place is inviting, welcoming and in the mornings and late evenings, its’ my sweet spot. In the middle of the day, as temps rise to the high nineties, I stay inside. In the days before Covid-19, I’d visit the library to stay cool and stay engaged. Or maybe I’d volunteer at a local school, go see a movie or meet friends for lunch. Not so much now.
Now it’s me and my yard. Except with all the ash in the air, it’s me and my house.
This photo (below) probably explains itself. Ash-filled skies covered the landscape.
Over the Labor Day weekend, I visited a friend in my old neighborhood. Every time I visit that area, I drive very slowly by my old house. This time, I got out and walked up and down the nearby green belt and looked into my yard. My rose-of-Sharon bush was healthy and happy. The tiny Christmas tree was growing taller. The lilac bush, aspen trees and perennials were all intact. As I was checking out my hard work, one of the homeowners came to the door and we chatted. I told her who I was and was delighted when she gave me a tour of my house and all the changes that were made.
I walked away with the biggest smile that my sweet little house was loved and in good hands. When I travel back to my childhood home, I do the same thing. I slowly drive by and take mental inventory of what still exists. The pump my dad put in the front yard. The rock wall loaded with rose moss and other perennial flowers. The elm tree is long gone due to a blight that wiped out all the trees on the street. The neighborhood is old, ignored and tired. It’s not the neighborhood of my youth.
Home is such an integral part of my health and wellness. Having a clean space that includes some of my identity – color, flowers, plants, smells and artifacts keeps me sane in a world where sanity is in question. Having a small patio and yard gives me a place to go, to tend, to improve and enjoy and I treasure this space in a way that never mattered before.
I am blessed. I know that beyond reason. I can list a million things that I don’t have and don’t want but I can tell you that the things that really matter can’t be purchased – a positive attitude, friends, good health, laughter, love and a sense of purpose.
Now, let’s put these wildfires out, get some clean air and blue skies again real soon.
Here’s to a feeling of happiness and well-being wherever you may be!
- Fort Collins & Cameron Peak Fire, September 7, 2020
- Cameron Peak Fire forces more evacuations
- Colorado on Fire
- Nature is smiling