This evening after returning from my short hike, lying on my back in the backyard next to my little potted garden looking up at the sky watching swallows coasting through the air high above me I couldn’t help but reflect on my current and past backyards- and the lack of. And of course as I lie there, I hear and then see my hummingbird friend. He zips back and forth from one tree to the next and to the feeder as well.
Just beyond the small portion of mowed grass awaits a state forest. I can walk out my back door and within in a couple of minutes I’m hiking on trails, some muddy and some overgrown with laurel and ferns. It smells so good back there and I take in deep breaths along the way. As I step around some muddy areas I notice that a black bear recently chose this path as well, my footprint is left next to hers after the heavy rains. As I head back, I cross a small creek and decide to look under some stones for salamanders, but something else quickly distracts me. Just up the creek I catch something bright red and it’s not a cardinal. I scold myself for not bringing my camera nor my binoculars because it’s a scarlet tanager bathing in the creek. He’s flapping his black wings in the cold water, they contrast so sharply against his scarlet red body and head. He’s distracted so I keep moving closer, until I am within a 10 meter distance. Scarlet tanagers are usually high up in the tree canopies and I’ve only spotted them through binoculars after hearing their calls so it’s such a privilege to see one so closely. I stood still, watching him for at least 5 minutes, until he became lost in the tree canopy once again.
In the past couple of years my literal backyards jumped around from being two different national forests, a national park (Smoky Mtns), Detroit city backyards and well, no backyard except for the alley. I’ve also traded in having a backyard for a backpack. It’s hard to know where I’ll go when my 8 months are up here. I’m in the habit of jumping back and forth from extremes… so perhaps another city. It’s difficult to think of all of that and I’d rather just enjoy what I have now.