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Mother Nature not big on housekeeping

Joyce Walter writes about a day outdoors
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

With three flower baskets hanging on the fence, some flowers re-potted into the ground, potatoes and tomatoes planted, rhubarb almost ready for a pie and dandelions spreading their fuzzy love, spring has arrived but will soon be gone.

However, if one hurries, there is a lot of living to be enjoyed before the calendar welcomes summer and the amount of daylight hours starts declining.

In other words, as much time as possible should be spent outdoors, enjoying nature and possibly exposing those white limbs to a bit of sun, hopeful for a tan before winter arrives.

Housemate, in order to access the lawnmower, kindly brought out some of the limited amount of lawn furniture that has survived our lack of attention. Looking at the chairs proved to me that Mother Nature would not win a prize for her housekeeping chores. I volunteered to eventually remove the cobwebs and dirt marring the surface of the chairs that Housemate had received from friends for his 50th birthday. I did not say when I would undertake the cleaning but seeing Housemate’s jeans covered in debris was the jolt I needed.

And besides, one day last week was almost perfect for being outdoors if one could ignore the gusty wind billowing through the yard. 

Out I went, rolls of towels in hand thinking a bit of heavy-duty dusting would do the trick. Nope. A jet stream of water was called for and I turned on the outdoor connection and misted myself in the face when the hose turned over unexpectedly. No one but the birds heard my exclamations.

Several bursts of a high-pressure water stream did the trick and I rubbed and scrubbed to remove grit and grime, at least the parts that might stick to an unsuspecting derriere planted in the chairs.

Housemate showed up when the work was finished, but he did bring cold drinks and we sat there enjoying the scenery out our back gate, with the white feral cat glaring at us through the fence before heading back to its home under the garage with the collapsing roof.

We listened to the birds, the sound of traffic on neighbouring streets, a siren signaling some kind of distress, wind whistling through the leaves, a woof from a dog, laughter of children in the nearby school yard.

My book called for me to get it from indoors and so I spent a couple more hours outdoors, basking in nature. The robins came closer and closer to check out the human in their environment. When I whistled, they looked around and warbled in response. Closer and closer and closer they hopped until an ugly, menacing crow swooped in and sent them fleeing for sanctuary.

When the wind got up it managed to spring free some bits and pieces from the overhead trees, some green caterpillar-like insects being among the bits and pieces to land on the interloper.

Then the sparrows landed in the branches directly above, my head being a worthy target for whatever they might have to discharge.

At that point I figured the message had passed from bird to bird of the perfect landing spot below and I gathered my empty glass and book and headed indoors.

Next time I venture out perhaps an umbrella might be the answer to protect myself from the natural droppings of our feathered friends while we share the joys of nature.

Joyce Walter can be reached at