An article in the Washington Post recently reported that baby boomers are selling their suburban homes and moving to the city. They want to be rid of their yards and the work of keeping a house. Have fun I say. If anything I am moving further away close enough to access it if I need to but far enough away that my back yard is my haven.
There is Sophia snuffling through the fallen leaves, searching for acorns. Groundhogs have superhero senses and she finds one easily. She rears up on her hind legs, her front paws holding the tasty brown morsel and begins to chew. It seems pretty yummy. She tosses away the shell and continues her search, rustling the leaves. Startled by a sound, she runs for cover keeping low to the ground, her huge gray body bouncing like fat on a sumo wrestler. Later the male, we named him Estanzio, will waddle in and dine on similar delights.
The view from my home office includes these kinds of nature breaks from the insistence of my computer. Out here in the outer suburbs, a half acre of land is enough to bring in the wildlife. There are deer, of course. They really are a nuisance. The goldfinch, robins, blue jays, cardinals, chickadee, wrens, and more come to the feeder to give me a show. As I sit at my desk, a shadow like a B-52 bomber may pass the window. It is the red tailed hawk hunting the feeder. He seems pretty successful judging by the feathers I find in the yard. The squirrels dance and chase, chipmunks scurry, the rabbits do their own form of snuffling, preferring the vegetarian meal of clover and the parsley in my garden. The hummingbird feeder is busy all summer as the ruby throated hummingbirds stock up on the syrup we provide. This year we even added a small bee hive because they need love too.
At night, the fox makes its rounds. Sometimes I hear an owl hooting in the distance. Startled frogs and toads jump from our step when we take out the garbage. Lying in bed, I listen to the mesmerizing frog song. In the middle of summer, lightening bugs blink and sparkle, sending their message of love and lust. And even snakes are find their way here. I have caught and moved three in the past month, trying to get them to make their home away from the house.
When I read about baby boomers eager to sell their suburban homes to move to the city, saying goodbye to all the yard work, I wonder why they are willing to give this up. I am doing just the opposite. The older I have gotten the more land I want, the more I want to have a park in my back yard. When I was in my 20’s, I was city oriented. The I moved to a close-in suburb, then a little farther out, now a little farther still. The moves were motivated for many reasons, but a big one was the desire to have a yard worth having, not a postage stamp. I wanted real wildlife, not the city animals like squirrels and pigeons and the random rat.
Perhaps the folks longing for a condo in the city never had the time to enjoy their backyard, maybe they never even paid attention. But I would bet that once they move to the city they will seek out parks to walk in, just to get a little closer to nature, the nature they left behind. I am lucky enough to have nature right at my back door. Sometimes it comes right up to my patio door and peeks inside as my cats can attest. I cannot image moving to the city any time soon. I could not give this up. I’d miss Estanzio and Sophia.
If I do move, it is going to be closer to nature than I am now, maybe the next thing I need to watch is ocean waves, dolphins and sea gulls.