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July 7, 2011

I’m an introvert, so I crave a lot of time away from other human beings. I find that time energizing and nourishing, as it helps me hear what my inner aspects want to tell me, as well as to distill ideas into something that can be written or otherwise represented … but I wouldn’t say that I’m alone or in solitude. Because I’m not. When I’m sitting in my studio, like I am right now, 3 feet away are my houseplants: Drugelis, Figgy, Fiddle, and Estrella. Just outside the south and west facing windows is a towering maple tree, which often contains noisy songbirds and/or squirrels. A yard or two beyond the tree is a wooded hill, which is home to many trees including one cottonwood, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, frogs, foxes, all manner of birds, and countless animals I have not seen. Northwest of where I’m sitting is Uncle Boulder, who is part of a grassy corridor that is regularly mowed. Just into the trees, a few feet beyond UB, is a springy area of humus that I half-jokingly call my compost pile, because that’s where I leave food offerings to the spirits of the place.

When I sit near our balcony, I can look directly to the hill that is our “backyard”, with more maple trees, more squirrels and more songbirds. Sometimes deer come through. Occasionally our downstairs neighbors, with their two noisy children, play in the grass. At the bottom of the hill is another apartment building, and further south is a tree line, above which is a dynamic cloudscape, where I often see turkey vultures soaring on thermals. At night, sitting in the same spot, I’ve heard foxes’ screeching mating calls, I’ve (rarely) seen a fox trotting through, or more frequently, deer. This is also where I’ve almost seen Cailleach’s ghostly deer.

On the balcony itself, I have placed two earthenware bowls, one small and one large. The small one contains one rock; the large bowl, many rocks and shells. On very hot days, I fill the bowls with water to the depth of part way up the largest rock. These bowls then supply water for bees who might need a spot where they can take a brief rest and drink some water to avoid heat exhaustion. This weekend I’ll be taking a class at the Smithsonian on creating an urban potager [traditional French kitchen garden that supplies herbs, vegetables, fruits, and edible flowers], which will fill up most of the balcony. I hope it will also become an oasis for pollinators of all sorts, birds, and bats.

I love being surrounded by greenery.

The one framed photograph I have of myself also includes Spouse, my brother and his two daughters. We are all dwarfed by a massive rosebush complex, a profusion of pink roses spilling over, behind us. I’m wearing my Tardigrade shirt, with line drawings of water bears. I think I like the photograph so much because it truly shows me in my element — as part of a community that is more than human.

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