Its been a little while since I have managed to get a blog post out. There’s a couple of factors in the middle of all that. My three classes that I teach are wrapping up – so I have some final assignment grading to finish – which I should have completed by the end of today. But on the bad side, I am a little worn down from some kind of bug I have apparently come down with. So sitting at the computer has not been a pleasant experience. However, it has afforded me the chance to get a little more reading and writing (the kind with paper and pen) completed as well.
Beltane has finally made its way through my zone of influence – as I noted before, its not my favorite time of the year to be around people. I like the ritual and symbolism that are part of Beltane, I’m just not a huge fan of the few people that shove their overt sexuality into the faces of others. But my Beltane was a lovely set of moments in the middle of my day yesterday. I was not feeling the best, but I still took the time to get outside, soak up some of the glorious sun that was out, and meditate out by my backyard stone circle – my small sanctuary in the middle of the DFW suburbs. I had a few “visitors” during my time there – a smallish, light-red Cardinal, a couple of my noisy Grackle friends, and my two uber-curious, fuzzy squirrel tenants that live in my backyard tree. None of these little denizens will come out when you move around the backyard too much, but if you sit still and stay quiet – they tend to make a few short visits.
It always does my heart and soul good to have these visits happen. It reminds me of the little connections that I have to each of my little neighbors. Every day, rain or shine, I spend a few moments making sure that my little neighbors have what they may need for the day. I spread some bird seed out by the water fountain, and if the water needs changing in the fountain, I do so there as well. I water my huge tree every morning and every evening – particularly now that the weather is getting a lot warmer. And every chance I get, I spend a few moments listening. Listening to the slight breeze moving the leaves above my head, providing a soft whisper for my ears. Listening for the soft chirps of my feathered friends – nearby, and always watching. Granted, I live next to a super-busy street in my neighborhood – and with the ever-present construction on both the near by interstate highway, and a local Farm-to-Market road — the number of cars passing by my backyard fence has increased several-fold. So there’s that extra added sound that is continually in the back ground.
But regardless of all of that, the connections I am seeking are there. It may be confined to my lovely backyard, but it is still there. And its those connections – to my feathered friends, my squirrel tenants, my sheltering tree – that provide the under-tone for my day. Those connected feelers, like a pair of hands intertwined together, fingers laced together – that provides me that feeling of belonging. My feathered friends and squirrel provide me with joy as I watch them eat the bird-seed and sunflower seeds that I leave for them. My tree provides the shade for my kitchen windows, and keeps my house from being too warm in the Summer months, as well as providing some degree of shelter from the wind. In return, I provide each of them with sustenance with the water and bird-seed…and a shelter of sorts from the rest of the neighborhood. Our little environment may be small, but it is something we all cherish and gain something from.
On my walks, I typically carry a trash bag with me. Most of the time, my walks tend to turn up a small amount of trash. Except on Mondays. Like I said, I live near a busy street. Throughout the weekend, our nights here are punctuated by loud engines, loud music, and squealing tires – as the exuberant high school youth “blow off some steam” from their earlier week. or whatever it is that they do. All I know, is that the result is typically a nearly full trash bag of beer cans, beer bottles, and assorted detritus from their activities spread throughout the neighborhood. On my walks, I pick up what I can get to of this mess. I don’t do this because I want to be a nice neighbor – though that’s a great by-product. I do this, because I want a cleaner environment (my local neighborhood) for my animal neighbors to continue to enjoy and live in. In a way, I feel like a babysitter cleaning up after a bunch of rowdy toddlers, but at the same time – I know that if I didn’t do this, there’s a chance that someone else might not. I’d rather it be taken care of. I’m just one person…hopefully my example gets others to think of doing something similar themselves. As the commercial says – courtesy is contagious. I hope the same can be said about trying to take care of one’s local environment.
I don’t get paid anything monetarily for this. Its just like my teaching gig – if it were about the money, I would definitely be doing something different. Teaching for me, is about touching other people’s lives. Inspiring them to better themselves, to continue on their educational track. The same can be said for being the caretaker of the neighborhood. Does it make a difference? I would like to think so. I cannot point to anything absolute that says that it does. But I cannot accept the idea that it does not. After all, from my perspective, my actions are mandate from the Gods to me – to take care of what I have. To be a part of my environment, rather than to treat the environment as something that is just used to further my existence. /|\