The path was created one morning when I shared with my Douglas something I had just read about Monarch butterflies being endangered because there aren’t enough milkweed plants around for them any longer…something to do with modern agricultural practices. A few minutes later, while I finished reading and sipping my coffee, I heard the lawn mower start up and then saw Doug riding past the kitchen windows, fist in the air and “for the Monarchs!” on his lips. He mowed two circles of safety around the rather small patches of milkweed we have in one of our hayfields. Since then, the hay has been harvested, but the milkweed stands tall and has begun to bloom.
The fence used to surround the little terrace outside my mother’s bedroom…to keep her safe. We have been very slowly taking steps to make her bedroom into ours…very slowly. Tending all that was hers within its walls, pulling up the carpeting and finding it a new home, spending quiet moments in its echoing spaces now and then, and this week, refinishing the wooden floors that were beneath the cushioning carpeting. We are considering putting the picket fence back…not for safety this time, but for enclosure.
The grass has been allowed to grow free this year…now that our children don’t need the lawns to run and wrestle upon and my sweet mother’s need for tidiness everywhere is no longer a consideration. It has profoundly affected the feel of our small world here…it is almost always in motion, with the slightest breeze…it is wild and lush and feminine…the sight of it brings peace so quickly to our hearts…and to walk the narrow paths mowed through it or find the circles here and there for sitting is a delight.
We don’t know how it will turn out. Will the grass get too yellow and dreary? How will we mow it if we tire of it? We don’t have the answers…and we don’t really worry. It has brought the quail back to us, and the hens sometimes lay their eggs alfresco now. We hunt among the grasses and wildflowers for them. Tonight, after dropping the spent pink roses on the bonfire pile, I wandered through the whispering grasses to the edge of the hayfield…listening to the insects hidden in its depths…and turning my face up to the crescent moon hanging in the western sky.
This is the path we are on now…