Looking Beyond the Surface


A random photo of the backyard.  More pecan limbs have been added to the Hugelkultur berm.

Yesterday, I was finally able to walk down my deck stairs for the first time since having a hip replacement three weeks ago.  I’d been looking longingly from my backdoor and windows into the backyard, but I wasn’t able to go down stairs because I had to be re-taught and practice how to walk up and down stairs.  Incidentally, I have 8 stairs plus a landing to navigate from the deck to access the yard.

Being house-bound has been a struggle.  If I could, I’d spend 12 hours of every day outdoors. ~ Grin. ~

So yesterday, I was able to investigate the “state of the backyard” where my garden lives.  It wasn’t a pretty picture.  The weather has not been kind.


Another random photo of the backyard taken today from the deck.

I found large and small pecan tree branches everywhere.  The wind blew off my potted plant coverings leaving them exposed to 15 degree temps, and the dogs moved some of my brick and rock edging out of place, plus there were leaves lying on every surface imaginable such that there are places you wouldn’t even recognize as bordered garden beds.  Oh, and the Parsley Hawthorn tree I’d planted was broken in two.  It will survive. It just needs time to mend.  It reminded me of me.

On the surface, my garden is in a current state of chaos and at this time, there’s not much I can do until I’m allowed to bend over.  (I’m not allowed to bend at the waist more than 90 degrees.)

Still, I’m optimistic.  All of those tree leaves hide the bulbs and seeds I’ve planted.  All of those leaves act as insulation for both my potted plants and the plants in the ground who also have leaves that are brown but whose roots are very much alive.

At some point, the dead leaves can be raked or swept off of the surfaces where I don’t want them, and they will eventually decompose into rich compost.  I’d hazard to say that by mid-summer, one would never know the leaves were even there.  Nature provides its own winter blanket if we, humans, don’t pull it off.


More leaves above.

And here is where I’d like to veer off the garden path to encourage everyone to look beyond things that are of a surface nature.

I am selective about what I read and listen to. I’m selective about what I believe and don’t believe.  I try to look beneath the surface of most things—advertisements, local and national news, corporations with agendas, gossip, etc.  I no longer watch television. I want to live my own life, not watch someone else living theirs (real or fictitious).    I encourage you to look beyond the surface of what you are told and what you see as well.

If I read a news story on the Internet, it’s because I think it’s worth my time. If 25 noisy ads pop up (surface leaf clutter) as I’m waiting to read or hear a story, I either turn off the sound or leave the page.  (These ads eventually turn into compost and go away.)  If I want to buy something, it’s not because some advertisement tells me I need a product.

I listen to NPR (National Public Radio) to get much of my news, which works for me, but may not work for you.

Most importantly, I don’t subscribe to the stuff that I believe litters the surface of so many lives.  I’m not a Facebook fan.  I don’t need Facebook as an interface to friends and family. And if I call someone who never wants to talk, and who will communicate ONLY through a text (surface communication), then I won’t pursue them.  Here’s a link and short video regarding text addiction.  If I’m going to be addicted, I want to be addicted to real life stuff—gardening, creative endeavors, lunch with friends, volunteering, and most of all, interacting with people in person, which seems to have become unpopular. Do I care if I’m unpopular?  No.

Finally, if I subscribe to a blog, it’s because I think the blog offers substance below life’s leaf-littered surface.  For me, reading blog posts I enjoy is like reading nonfiction short stories.  I often learn something valuable in the process or feel a connection to the writer and that’s never a waste of my time.

As you go into 2017, I encourage you to examine what’s below the leaf-littered surface to find the good stuff.