I’ve taken a break from writing in the last few days to recharge my batteries and enjoy the summer. But it’s a rather sedentary mini-holiday. Twenty-two years ago, shortly after buying our current residence, we planted a red maple in the back yard. Today, it’s a towering shade tree with enough room beneath its leafy branches for a rustic patio, complete with table and recliners. That is where I’ve spent the last few afternoons, reading, watching birds, small animals and insects enjoy our urban glade. You see, years ago, we decided a standard, sterile, neatly bordered lawn wasn’t for us. Especially not with three small terriers in the family (sadly we’re down to one now).
As a result, we turned the yard into the sort of woodland mini-meadow you might stumble upon deep inside one of our nearby nature parks. Shrubs, bushes and small trees, punctuated with all manner of flowers, vines, and other plants thrive in semi-anarchy along our ancient, gray cedar fence. And since our neighbourhood is over forty years old, adjoining back yards also boast mature trees of every description. Sitting under our red maple I can easily picture myself elsewhere.
What I really like is that it’s the sort of space which attracts small wildlife, bees, butterflies and the like. Birds in particular enjoy the bath and feeders set up at the patio’s edge. In the last few days, I’ve taken countless pictures at close range, though the birds are less shy than the resident chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits, content to pose while taking a drink or pecking at seeds. I’ll upload a few of them to my Facebook page, so if you’d like to take a peek, the link is in the menu to the right.
At this point, When the Guns Roar (Siobhan Dunmoore #6) is 20% written, but it’ll be a few days yet before I go back to work. We waited so long for summer, I owe myself and Mother Nature some quiet time away from the keyboard. Besides, a writer who doesn’t feel fully motivated to spill words onto the page doesn’t bring forth his best work, and our backyard refuge is so enchanting at this time of year…