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Little Friends of Daily Iberian column

Little Friends of Summer Summer is in full swing by now. The solace has occurred, the Full Buck Super Moon lit up the skies on July 3, and the United States of America turned another year old, as did I… another June has come and gone. It is July now; the Dog Days are here, and the heat is turned on to its extreme. Mostly, I am indoors during the ‘heat of the day’, but the very early mornings in mid-summer are wondrous, so I try to be ‘there’. Waking up before the sun rises is somehow powerful…being there, waiting, to greet the day. It is a place of control seemingly…you are there to welcome the beginning of, yet, another day in your life, a day that holds mystery and promise; you are standing there ready, not ambling into something that has already begun. This morning, I did just that…I was outside at the cusp of sunrise. It was a bit dim, but it was mystifyingly beautiful and tranquil. My little solar lights were still shining brightly, lining the old sidewalk that leads from the side of our house to the back, the old sidewalk that the twins once rode Big Wheels on, barreling around the slight curve it made, little legs pedaling as fast as they could, going ‘somewhere’. It is the same sidewalk that I have walked on thousands of times, barefoot across the rainbow rock also heading ‘somewhere’. It is the sidewalk lined in yellow daylilies gathered through the years from friends and neighbors, and purple Spider Worts from my mother’s yard; that one. At this enigmatic edge of nighttime and daytime, I could hear the morning birds beginning their day, and still, I heard the owl in the woods ending his night of hunting. Just those few moments of natural sound, put me in a place of calm, it put me here, a place to share with you, as best I can, only words. The older I grow, the more attached to the natural world I become. Right outside, right beyond my backdoor is this place that feeds my soul. It is not a place far far away or a place that requires a ‘ticket’, it is free, and it is here. And like Dorothy, I have come to realize that our homes are our havens, they are the places we are most connected, the places where we spend most of our days ‘… if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard…” Speaking of backyards, just yesterday, I told Skip, my husband, that I will stop tormenting over the massive number of birds and rabbits and squirrels that feast on our property. Instead, I will celebrate the idea that these few acres, this small patch of earth, is able to nourish so many small animals. I will turn my thoughts around, for it is resistance that makes someone unhappy…I will not resist what nature must do, instead I will embrace it and feel joyous that I am doing something of benefit to the small creatures I share my property with.

It has taken nearly 40 years to come to this point…a point that in the beginning was an empty dwelling and now, it is filled with trees and berries and fruit and all the things they love and need. In return for hosting these little animals, I can walk outside in the very early morning and hear the conversations of the mockingbirds and wait for the silence of the hoot owl and in the middle of the hot summer day I can watch dragonflies dip and dive on water features and sit motionless on my clothesline waiting… I can always find a friendly green lizard hiding behind the lantana on my patio or basking on the fence with a puffed-up throat looking for his mate…they are my little friends of summer. They are always there, always doing their small part to assure a healthy eco system. I see them nearly every day and they reassure me that life goes on, that every summer I am here, they will be here also. So, I will happily share a few of my muscadines and Celeste figs. I will keep poisons out of my space and my reward will be the peace and tranquility they give to me, for nature will always fulfil if given her simple space to grow and thrive. Stay cool and hydrated as Sirius, the Dog Star, rises with the Sun until August 11, and we (try to) tolerate the hottest days of summer …the Dog Days are here. Pam Shensky Berry Tales July 9, 2023

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