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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v09n02)
Right in my Own Backyard - A January Musing - by Brandt Carter
posted: Jan. 20, 2012

Right in my Own Backyard header

A January Musing

Hooray for backyards ― even in the depths of January. As I gazed out the window the other day, still pondering my designs on 2012, I was struck by how the wildlife and plants seemed to be signaling inspiration. There's something about this quieter time of the year that encourages reflection and introspection. My yard has a wonderful way of encouraging me to see philosophical lessons for life. All of nature stands ready to show us the big picture, including the cycle of life: birth, life, and death.
Being aware of plants and trees that surround us continually, year after year, can spark renewed zest for living. A host of sayings keyed to nature came to mind as I sat silently surveying my backyard. I jotted some of them down to share in the hope they might strike a chord with you as well.

1. Grow and bloom where you are planted.
2. Take advantage of what each season brings.
3. Begin again and again, even after drought or dormancy.
4. Fulfill your purpose in life; an oak tree does not desire to be a petunia.
5. Be a good neighbor; those weeds and perennials that try to take over the garden get pulled.
6. Reach for the sun, the stars, and the moon.
7. Absorb all showers and storms because they promote growth.
8. Each of nature's works has its own essence and yet there is unity in diversity.
9. When it is time to bloom, really put on a show.
10. Nature is rough and tender, lovely and hateful, powerless and omnipotent.
11. Share your purpose and beauty.
12. Invite the bees, birds, and butterflies to visit.
13. Nature does nothing in vain.
14. Life is a process; stay the course.
15. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

I came to the end of this reverie remembering the wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience." I then decided to write all these little meditations on pieces of paper that I folded and placed into a glass bowl. As the year progresses, I can draw from this wellspring of inspiration one thought at a time to "recharge my battery" as need may have it. For the moment, I am fully encouraged and hope you are as well. May this be a gratifying year, one in which we all treasure nature and our backyards more each day.

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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