Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Visitor

It was the last day of the work week; a day for cleaning and catching up for the upcoming Stampede weekend. The weather was sunny and warm...we had just received a few days of Rain, and every Leaf and Flower sparkled from the leftover drops of Rain in the rays from the golden Sun.

All in all, it seemed like an ordinary day.  But soon, the quiet of the countryside would be shattered. And I would be caught up in an inexplicable event.

I am not very surprised when a group of Mule Deer wander through the property. They generally browse outside the fence...and even if the Dogs bark, the Deer are well aware that there is a fence. And so, they feel safe.  They have, as well, grown somewhat accustomed to our Dogs, especially Lucky.

Lucky is a strange one. He has an empathetic ability which allows him to speak (or bark) with the animals that visit.  Should an Eagle fly by, for example, Lucky will be the first to see him.  And then when Eagle calls, Lucky will sit, ears up, and bark once or twice, never taking his eyes off Eagle. Eagle will often return the favour, circling over Lucky, and calling to him. This has happened so often, most times I am not even aware of it any longer.

There are many stories we have collected concerning Lucky and wild animals...he is our ambassador to our wild friends.

The Mule Deer who visit here, however, generally travel within a group. This particular morning, there was only one.

I was inside the house when I heard the Dogs barking. I went out to see them railing wildly at a Deer by the lower gate. The Deer was not at all concerned with our foolish Dogs. Her nose was pressed right against the fence and she exhibited great interest in these two Beings who could not contain themselves.

And since she did not project fearful energy towards our Dogs, they settled down. And I watched as the three communed for what seemed like a very long time. I was about to get my camera, which I was once again without, when Deer lunged forward, towards the Dogs, setting them off all over again.

And then she raced up her side of the fence, the Dogs in hot pursuit on their side. She raced back down, the Dogs again running with her, barking wildly. At the gate, she stopped, then again she lowered her head, bounced on her front hooves, and raced back up the draw once more. Again, the Dogs gave chase.  This behaviour happened over and over.

I was completely perplexed. I watched as the three of them rested, with Deer browsing and making very sure to keep out of my sight, but very close to the panting Dogs. Her behaviour was very odd to me.  And when she raced up and down our fence line, my heart was in my mouth.

Inside the fence, there is a cleared trail.  On her side, there are stumps and branches and windfalls everywhere.  As Deer raced with our Dogs, she would jump and fly over obstacles in her path.  It looked so dangerous, to me. It looked as if she could easily get hurt...and what was I to do with a Deer with a broken leg?

When she thundered down the draw, towards the gate, my legs went weak.  There was so much power in her race with the Dogs! It  was phenomenal to watch.

Deer was here for a couple of hours.  The racing with our Dogs stopped after awhile. Nate is getting on in years; his figure is not what it once was.  I watched him with trepidation as he raced, over and over again, with Deer.  He has Arthritis and is overweight... But there was so much joy!

And Lucky, after his initial confusion at Deer's strange behaviour, recognized Deer's playful lunge, since he does exactly the same thing, when he wants to be chased. Lucky loves to run and is fairly fit. He raced alone with Deer two or three times, jumping over Nate who had decided to collapse and rest. There was much hilarious, happy barking when Lucky almost beat Deer to the gate.

I could feel and hear the laughter in the voices of these animals who should not, by all accounts, be friends.

Yet, I could feel, as well, that these three had bonded their energies, possibly for life.

What odd behaviour I had witnessed! Both Dogs and I were a wee bit apprehensive at Deer's bold approach at first...but it was soon evident she only wanted some company, since she could have retreated into the bush at any time. And her gaze, when a resting period arrived, centred on Lucky, whose colouring is similar to Deer's.

Nate, as well, this time, allowed his wariness of wildlife to recede. He enjoyed the races, as much as Lucky (even though he's slept and rested since!)

I could not help, as I watched the three of them flying along the fence at full speed, comparing Deer to an extremely finely tuned athlete.  She used every sense she had when she raced over the broken, obstacle ridden ground. It reminded me so well of long ago, when I rode cross-country.  There was never any assurance of what lay ahead, only the sure knowledge I was going to go ahead...on an unknown path.
And Deer, using all her acute senses, gave me a gift, this day.

I will never forget the awesome, terrifying, stupendous beauty and power our Visitor showed or the lesson she gave.  We are all connected, us Beings. It only takes a little patience, sometimes, to understand one another.

She stayed with us for the rest of the morning. Eventually, the Dogs retreated to the house and their beds. But as I went out to begin mowing the lawn, I saw her large ears as she peeked around Guardian Rock. 

And ever after, my intuition tells me eyes are watching as I go about my gardening chores.

Watching and waiting for her pals  to be free.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wild Roses

Many long years ago, when I was a small girl, the best part of the school session was the month of June, and not only because it was the beginning of Summer holidays.

I travelled home by school bus. The weather had warmed up by June; the bus windows were all open. And every once in a while, a waft of Air would bring in the scent of the wild Rose, which grew rampant on the sides of the roads.

I was amazed at this flower. She came back year after year, without any tending. And Rose's scent...clean, fruity, sharp, sweet and unmistakable...made me gather fist loads of her to give to my Mother, never minding the thorns. I did this until I discovered how fleeting the life of Rose's flower was, once picked.

Her beautiful, scented blossom is meant to be admired outside, where Sun and Rain and Wind release her ethereal essence. It seemed to me that she breathed out the very smell of the upcoming Summer.

And here she is again. Our property has wild Roses everywhere. Some do not like her; they pull her, they poison her, they bulldoze the Soil around her. And eventually, she does not come back.

There are very few wild Roses blooming along roadsides anymore.

But I love her.  She can be difficult to love, with her running roots and her habit of hanging on to her dead canes until there is very little of her blooming canes left in a huge tangled bush. Rose does so for a reason...those old canes give her support when she leafs out, when she blooms, and finally, when her red hips hang ripe and luscious.

When I cleared the lower bench, I took out those old canes, and pruned the others.  Rose has rewarded me with an abundance of blooms...but she can not hold herself upright, if the canes left were small. One of the jobs on my list is to stake those dangling, lovely balls of pink, in so doing giving Rose strength to grow those large hips.

She will send up other canes.  If they are in the same area as the cane left after clearing, I will leave them, in order to build  a bush.  I did this with a small, wild Rose I found when we moved in, right by the West side of the deck steps.

After two seasons, she glows.  She is clothed in pink with very healthy dark green leaves, used almost as a fashion accessory. It is as if, at any moment, she may pick up her skirts and twirl and dance, as if in a minuet.

From a very unassuming little Rose, about the size of a minute, she has grown three feet, possible more if I had let her. But I pruned, fertilized and clipped, last year when there was little in the garden to nurture.

And she has certainly rewarded me! Now my concern is for how large she will grow...and how much clipping and pruning there will be, in the future.

When I smell her unforgettable scent, as I work in the beginning stages of what will be a garden, I am transported back to my childhood.  It never fails to make me smile with anticipation for the upcoming Summertime.

It doesn't matter that I no longer have Summer vacations such as I had as a child.  I am flooded with happy memories, all of which shower me with joy and well-being. In reality, my childhood was not always like this; yet, Rose only sends me cheerful, buoyant recollections.

And this is the way I prefer to remember my past...with joy. I have left the rest...the garbage left over from lessons learned...behind.

Wild Rose takes me back in time when I first began my journey. A time of anticipation and innocence, a time when life's sorrows had not yet tinged happiness for me.

And I wonder...perhaps it is time, once again, to view the World through those proverbial rose-coloured glasses I once owned...the ones I put away long ago? Perhaps it is time to put the scarred, cracked and blackened ones away,  along with that left-over garbage?

The scent of Wild Rose tells me it just might be so.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Handing Over

Time moves so quickly, when Spring finally arrives, and the temperatures outside remain stable.  I heard on the news Calgary received Snow a few days ago. So I am a little fearful of the same thing happening here...Calgary is south of us.

I have planted all my seedlings.  They have been through the worst...Snow and Hail almost did them in, and then an early Heat wave again almost finished them off. A little ragged, a little less fresh than they were when I purchased them, they have finally taken root and are showing signs of new growth.

There was a  happy glitch in my intense fervour to landscape the raw land we live on.  Graham had a conference to attend in Port Alberni, my hometown, and where my family lives. Of course, I went along! While he was busy working, I was able to spend some lovely, energetic time with the Grandkids.

I also, on this occasion visited my sister and brother-in-law.  Her garden is one I aspire to...she has lived there all her life and her garden shows it. Every Tree and Bush has reached maturity.  It is the kind of garden where one never knows what might show up just around the corner.  They have recently built a very large swimming pond and I spent a pleasant morning watching a Mama Bear and her Cub nosing around it.

The visit was great for my garden, as well.  My sister gave me a huge bunch of raspberry canes, which I could not find in Williams Lake.  As soon as berry canes come in to the nurseries here, they are snatched up.  Raspberries, apparently, grow large and especially sweet here in the Cariboo.

When I visit a garden such as this, it gives me even more impetus to continue on with my own. 

People ask me why I would put so much effort into making a garden when I plan to move again in a few years, back to the Island. And it is a valid question.

I'm not sure I know the answer.

All I know is I love to garden.  And to beautify a place, to help Creator sculpt a garden He has already planted, seems imperative in every way.  I leave behind, when I move, a small part of myself in my gardens, a small imprint of who I am.

And every home deserves a garden.

A few weeks ago, I was at the end of my rope.  I was fighting nerve damage; with every movement Pain was my companion. I planned the garden during this time. Others wondered why I was even planning, since I could barely move without searing Pain. How was I ever going to manage landscaping this raw, stony land?

But I could not think this way.  If I myself thought I could never do it, I would have been severely limited. I handed my health over to Creator...I gave it to Him.  And then I tried to forget I might have trouble putting my gardening plans into action.

But the diagnosis of Fibro opened the door to new medications I had not yet tried.  And one, Lyrica, has stopped the Pain in its tracks. As long as I take the medication, my body feels little burning from the nerve I damaged so long ago.

Yesterday, I was clambering up and down the bank which runs along the back of our home. It is steep and rocky and filled with wild Flowers and many Weeds. To plant the whole bank, one which only Wildlife sees, would quite possibly bankrupt us. So, only a small part of the bank was planted with various flowering Shrubs, Thyme, and Chamomile.

Arnica, which grows rampant along the bank, suddenly looks more defined, as the raggedy edges are cleaned and pruned. And I found a set of Rocks which look like a dry River bed cascading down the bank. I will highlight this area in some way.

The point I am trying to make is I was actually climbing up and down the bank, planting and digging on its steep sides. I was climbing!

With no burning pain from that damaged nerve whatsoever.

The only Pain I have now is from Arthritis, which will harass me at times...but even this ache from the joints has dimmed. Yet, my right hand is largely useless now, due to Arthritic stiffness, swelling and Pain, if I try to use it too much.

And so, I am using my left hand more and more.  Isn't it great that we have two hands! In my younger years, I never thought I would learn to be a lefty as I grew older. It is not as difficult as I might have thought, at one time.

Creator has given me the tools to continue to live with joy. Handing over my problems to Him has always worked; I had no reason to believe He would let me down this time.  I wanted to plant a garden and I asked for help.

It really was that simple.