Staying in one place
I took this photo two nights ago in our back yard. The sun was going down, and we were watering our flower beds, setting up the sprinkler just so, leaving it for awhile only to move it again. I looked around at our yard as I often do and I was grateful.
I've always had a desire for some land in the county- one with an old farmhouse and tall trees, the space for a jersey cow and chickens and room for the kids to explore. I can see it in my mind, that place.
And yet, we stay in our little home here in the city. And I am grateful and content. And the longer we stay, the more I feel that way.
I look around our yard, and everything has a story.
By the garden, there, is that big purplish hydrangea. It came to me by way of a gift from Mark, so many years ago. When he brought it home to me, it was a small potted hydrangea he'd picked up at the grocery store, the kind with the foil-colored wrapping around the base. It was blue when he bought it. And Mark planted it here on the inside of our fence, by the garden, and we have watched it grow and change color. Now it is huge, and it graces us with blooms in these summer months.
There's our little side garden which was a family project, laying the rock pathway and planting perennials alongside of it. And there, too-- my bird bath- a Mother's Day gift from Mark and the kids.
There is my picket fence, bordering our garden, that Mark lovingly put in for me last year.
Along the fence are the raspberries we planted there, scraggly at first, but now giving us containers-full of raspberries every day.
Back by the garage is the lilac tree we planted, right next to our camellia. My friend Amy bought us a small camellia plant several years ago when we were struggling with infertility. It was a gesture of love and of hope, and when it blooms each year I remember that season of our lives and that friendship. That camellia shrub is now full and tall and vibrant, and I get to see my children run past it every day in their backyard play, and I am reminded of the faithfulness of God.
Back by the swing set, there, is the place where the big old apple tree used to stand. We loved that old tree, and the first few years we lived here we filled up boxes of apples from that tree.
There is the playhouse whose bottom floor we converted into a chicken coop, the ladder and deck and slide we built for the kids with the help of Mark's parents. There is the fence we put up with the kids bordering the alley- another big family project. Everything has a story.
This new hydrangea has its own story. It's a gift from my parents that will stand as a memory of the loss of our babies. Mark planted it there by the bird bath and it is beautiful. And each time I look at it I will remember.
As Mark and I sat in the yard the other night and watched the birds flock to the bird bath, I thought, not for the first time: How could we ever leave this place? I don't know that we will. I love it so much and there is something so precious about staying in one place, investing in this one place, seeing things change and grow and being here for that.