“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with”
L. Frank Baum
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
When I was still “gainfully” employed, I had to travel on occasion. At first it was exciting, not to be tied to a desk in a fixed environment every day. But, as time wore on, the shine wore off and it became another business obligation. Nothing more. Nothing less. Some trips were better then others and, of course, the destination had a lot to do with that. But regardless of place or purpose, there was always one constant. The joy of coming home.
There was always that pull back to my roots, as shallow as they were, given my frequent transfers. There was an exhilaration about exiting a plane and walking through a sparsely occupied airport in the middle of the night, knowing that soon this overwhelming feeling of isolation would be ending. Knowing that home would be exactly the same as it was when I left a few days ago. It was my anchor. Driving through the darkened streets toward that source of belonging was always the same.
We don’t have a fine house, but it suits us. We are comfortable. It sits on a wooded lot with just enough of a yard to allow us to enjoy some gardens and a green (well, mostly) lawn. It is peaceful here, and can be enjoyed from most any direction.
Much of the time, I don’t give it any thought, other then when it needs to be mowed or weeded. But when I do, I realize how perfect it is. In the fall as the leaves flee the trees, I am treated to a greater view of the woods, peeking between the barren limbs at a landscape prepared by nature, not easily seen in the summer. Colors change and shapes emerge, to be admired until a new season is introduced. Winter spreads it’s coat of Gesso smoothly, removing any hint of terrain, subduing the natural boundaries between yards. I do not visit my back yard in the winter, save to plow paths to the woodpiles. But on frigid mornings it is not unusual to discover that we had been visited by deer and rabbits during the night, carving irregular patterns in the snow.
When spring arrives and the white sheets are thrown back to again reveal the waking shrubbery, I watch the buds return to the trees and the dormant gardens begin to flex their muscles, yawning and stretching, while bathing in the freshly warmed sun. As spring progresses, the lushness of the yard returns in a celebration of life, daring you to ignore it.
It is always there, this performance revealed in four acts, and the price of admission requires nothing more then my attention. So I have found it, it would seem. My hearts desire. Right here in my own back yard.