Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Furry Philosophers

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Lao-tzu

Nice try, Mr Ancient Chinese Philosopher. But I firmly disagree. 

At my house today, a journey of a thousand miles began with two cats.

Two cute cats, in fact, who decided to enjoy the afternoon by lounging on my trampoline. 

The moment I spied them so sweetly perched out there together, I swooped up my camera and slipped out the door, all quiet and stealthy-like, silently praying that I could snap their adorable photo before they dashed away.

In fact, I was so excited for the challenge that I entirely forgot where I was going.

I accidentally went out into my back yard. 

See, for months now, my back yard has been a no-man's land. Literally. We humans have barely set foot beyond the back step, and the wild forces of nature - three cats, one dog, last year's dead flowers and downed leaves, and a whole lot of weeds - have had the place to themselves. It's been an unkempt space, to say the least, and the thought of cleaning it up terrifies me. 

During the depth of winter, I feel alright about letting it go. A messy garden is acceptable in the cold, dark season of gloom.

But now that spring has come creeping round the corner, I feel conflicted. In the past weeks or so, the guilty whispers of procrastination have circled round, and honestly, to avoid the whole issue, I've just pretended that the back forty no longer exists.

Until the moment when I dashed out the door to see my cats. Then, when I finished my impromptu feline photo shoot, and began my foray back to the house, I couldn't help but notice. 

All around me, under the dead leaves, between the piles of earthy rubble, and bursting forth from brown sticks, I saw the inarguable, indescribable, invigorating signs of spring:

^ My back yard baby daffodils are just as cute as the ones in front, though these are surrounded by a deep layer of last year's broken and brown cat mint stems. 

^ Most of my herbs died off in the winter cold, but a fresh crop of chives surges forth from the debris of last summer's bounty.

^ Lush white rhododendron blooms sacrifice their beauty to the brown surroundings. They deserve better. 

^ Arg! A new crop of green leaves unfurl on my hydrangea, even though last summer's huge puffy blossoms - now withered and brown - still dominate the stems. It just ain't right.

^ The weeds are so prolific that they pop up even in the potted plants. Sorry, Madame Rosemary!

* * * * *

Well. Straightening up this gigantic mess will be a journey of at least a thousand steps, not to mention a few dozen wheelbarrow loads, but I can ignore it no longer.

Tomorrow - tomorrow! - is the day I begin to set my garden to rights.

Now that I've committed myself to the project, and promised myself a few new plants for following through - I cannot pat myself on the back for finding the perseverance and pluck to get started.

I owe the first step of my long, much needed garden journey to Cedric and Luna, my very own furry Chinese philosophers.

* * * * *

For more stories about late winter and early spring, try these:

My Friend, Heidi
Miracles Of Spring

* * * * *

The story of my gardening season:

The Second Step
Patio Pets
Wish List
The Primrose Patch
My Fairy House

* * * * *

I've written more stories about my cats. But wait. That doesn't make me a crazy cat lady, does it?

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