My Backyard

By Con Carlyon


I’ve been looking out the window at my backyard. I live on a typical quarter acre suburban block, in a city of some 100,000 people. I’ve lived here for thirty years, and that backyard has seen many changes. I’ve erected swings and seesaws for my kids to play on. I’ve played football and cricket in it with my sons, and I’ve erected a basketball hoop for my younger son. It’s gone now, as are my kids. They’ve fluttered those tiny wings and have gone off to make their way in this crazy old world. And I still have my backyard and the many precious memories it evokes.

A few years ago I planted some grevilleas, flowering shrubs native to Australia.  The birds love to feed on the nectar in the blossoms, and my neighbor’s cat tries to feed on the birds. I have a birdbath for them. I don’t see much bathing, but they do like to drink there on hot days, and the crows like to dunk their hard bread crusts to soften them. They’re not stupid, there’s speculation that they learned to use tools before humans did, which doesn’t surprise me at all. We humans do tend to overrate ourselves. Then there’s the grass…and weeds. I’ve just mowed them again, and they’ll grow again, and I’ll mow them again. Which is good, as I do need the exercise, and they need to live.

All this activity in one small suburban back yard, all this life just doing what it has to do to live. I understand so little about that great mystery…life. But I do gain a sense of wonder of it, as I view my backyard from my window. And when I tire of the endless bickering of man, something that happens to me increasingly more often these days, it is good to be able to retreat to my backyard. There, my fellow creatures and I can get on with living our lives, and I can savor the richness of it all.

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