June 8, 2020 10:53:25 AM
"Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realize that that is enough to be happy. There's a whole world out there, right outside your window. You'd be a fool to miss it."
-- Charlotte Eriksson, author of "You're Doing Just Fine."
Once upon a time before we could hold computers in the palm of our hand, I saw an ad in the Oxford American Magazine. The ad showed John Grisham sitting in a chair with a book-sized computer on his lap. Grisham, his chair, and his computer were in the middle of a spacious green field. There was a tall tree with green leaves at his side and the sky was blue. The intention was to show Grisham writing his best-selling novels on his laptop in the wide-open spaces connected to nothing but the nature around him. That's how I remember it.
That image was probably close to twenty years ago but I've dreamed of it ever since; so today I'm sitting outside with my laptop on my knees connected to nothing but the nature around me. The weather is delightful. Grass is growing high and green; the trees are lush. Around the lake the swamp irises still crowd the water's edge. Yellow blooms have faded. Green ivy grows abundantly covering the wooden deck leading to the dock and the floating platform. Fish are striking prey. That would be bass or bream-maybe a water snake. Turtles are floating. Birds are singing. A carpenter ant crawls by my foot.
A male cardinal lights below the empty bird feeders. There's no seed for the summer but perhaps some wild growing thing is nestled down in the grass for him to nibble on. Hummingbirds zoom past my head. I feel I should shut my eyes in case they veer off course. They head toward the red glass hummingbird feeders-their favorite.
Occasionally I can hear movements of the rabbits in their cages. They have a nice view on three sides. Rex and Hatcher are quite content to be fed twice a day with fresh greens-clover and dandelions. One thing I love about animals is how they learn to trust you. A stranger can walk up to the rabbits' hutches and they will scurry frightened to the back corner. However, when I come, they run to the front eager to eat and push on my hand. I pet them and comb their hair while they eat.
Last week Rex didn't feel well and his left eye looked weepy. I cut back his rations because animals don't eat much when they don't feel well. I took a cold wet rag, held his head, and wiped his eye several times a day. He got bright eyed and picked up his appetite then it happened again. Probably pollen allergies. It quickly clears up with eye washing.
The Prairie house sits on a gravel road. Some days the road seems busier than it ought to be with pickup trucks, cars, farm equipment, delivery trucks, ATVs, and the mail lady. Other days it's quiet and the dust settles back down. The trees are so full now you can hardly define the passing vehicle. No other houses can be seen from here. More likely to see deer, turkeys, buzzards, armadillos, and possums.
Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.
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