Friday, April 8, 2016

Watching the Wild World

I always feel a real sense of gratitude for the wild creatures that live on my acreage. 

When my parents bought this place more than two decades ago, it was clear-cut.  Only one hardwood tree and a few pines.  No shrubs, no greenery.  Just a couple acres of close-cut grass.  A few birds flitted about but there were no squirrels, no bunnies, none of the creatures that should be living near. 

As we began to learn a bit more about the land, we realized the need for re-wilding--long before anyone began to use the term.  The more native plant species we allowed to take hold, the more creatures would be drawn to live here.  The more creatures, the healthier for this tiny plot of the planet.  So we let things grow around the edges of the property and around the pond, wherever they seeded themselves.  After my parents' passing, I let even more of the land grow wild, keeping perhaps less than a quarter of it clear.  And I watch with interest the life that goes on quietly here.

This morning I saw one of my less-welcome wanderers:  a large snapping turtle.  They cross my yard in springtime (as they have done every April since the first year we were here), headed to wherever it is that snappers go to spawn.  I'm glad to see that this place is yet part of their thoroughfare.  I give the snappers a wide berth, however.  They are important to the environment but dangerous to those who are foolish enough to get too close. 

There are opossums here nowadays, and raccoons.  There are lots of wild bunnies and squirrels.  There are shy foxes.  I've seen beaver and deer; neither stayed, though.  Life is teeming all around.  That's just the way it should be.

Protecting one tiny corner of the earth may not seem like much but it's what I can do and it's what I will do as long as I am able.  What is good for the planet is good for me, too.

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