This whole site is about wellness–mental, physical, and spiritual. We have a need to have balance in our lives and we naturally seek out that balance. One thing that I think is a base on which to build wellness is having a good, safe and healthy environment. That environment would encompass our family, our home, our neighborhood, and our community. I will write more extensively on all of these things in upcoming blog entries. For today–I have one specific topic in mind and it hits me hardest in the spring and in the fall.
So what is it, you might be wondering. It may seem petty to some while it may resonate with others. Right now–it is the fall leaves. What about them, you may be thinking. There are lots of things associated with the tree leaves in the fall. One is the beautiful colors; one is that winter is coming; one is that school is getting underway. Another thing is that they die–and fall on to the ground!!! Depending on where you live and what you believe–two things happen after the leaves fall. One I can relate to distantly and the other I embrace openheartedly! What I can relate to is the intense need some people have to get out there and remove every last leave from their property. While I never bought into that line of thinking–I did practice it on occasion.
When you live in a subdivision, there is immense pressure to make your home and yard look perfect. Every weed is removed. Every leaf is removed. Every inch of grass the same height. Every tree and flower is the same as your neighbors–the carbon copy of each other. And for some-
-that is what they need.
Then there are the people who live differently. The people who recognize that having leaves in the yard is normal and natural. It is how the earth works and the benefits of having leaves die on your grass, decompose over winter and get chopped up and distributed over the lawn on the first spring mowing is absolutely what nature intended. It feeds the lawn. BUT what we do now is remove the leaves and in the spring we pay some company to come and spray toxins onto our lawns to replace the nutrients that we raked up and threw out last fall. So our yards LOOK pretty. Then we spray more toxins on them to remove the weeds and this brings me to my second annoyance.
In the spring, we are greeted by a beautiful gift of nature–the dandelion. They are the first food for the bees and some of the first color of the season. They are bright and lovely and very useful for teas, medicines, and even wine. BUT we have been taught that they are ugly, useless, and must be destroyed with whatever toxin or poison you can find and it must be done so that not even ONE of them grace your lawn–NOT ONE!
If there is even one–you must be lazy, poor, uncaring, or not fit to live near anyone else in society. Surely I exaggerate–but just a bit. People have been somehow twisted against mother nature and against anything that is natural.
We can’t just grow a tree–it has to be cut into perfect symmetry. We can’t just grow a evergreen–it has to be twisted and turned and cut into spirals. Our bushes are trimmed into perfect box shapes or perfect spheres. I guess for some–that is what they need or like.
Me, I’m a different animal. I have always seen it a bit differently but recently have begun to feel an urgency to practice more of what I believe and live more simply and more holistically. What does that mean? Well, it means a lot and I will be elaborating on many of these areas in different postings of this blog. But for the purpose of this story–it means that I do not spray anything on my lawn. I do not rake the leaves. I do not put any poisons on my lawn or in my garden. And I definitely do not remove the dandelions. In fact–I embrace the plants that grow naturally and even have become rather good at knowing the uses for them: some can be used for making tea, some can be used to cure illness, and some can be used as food.
I enjoy the weeping nature of bushes and never really appreciated the manicured look of the perfect bush or the perfect lawn. To me, it seems unnatural, unreal, and unappealing. We have been conditioned in this society to desire perfection and to be repulsed by the natural ebb and flow of our own nature. A yard full of leaves is repulsive to most people. I witnessed several large houses with a literal army of men blowing all the leaves from the one acre lots into piles and hauling them away in trucks.
I wonder if it is just me. Am I the only one who sees all of this as unnatural? Do others find yards completely devoid of any leaves beautiful–or odd? Do the yards filled with leaves make you feel edgy? Angry? Out of sorts? Or does it make you smile at the absolute beauty of how Mother Nature knows just what to do? Does it fill you with joy and wonder?
What we do makes no sense really. We remove the very thing we are seeking–connection with nature. We take away the natural cycle of birth, development, death and the break down of the dead into the building blocks of life. We remove the leaves which are natural food for our yards and we pour on poisons and toxins to feed the lawn with unnatural things in unnatural ways. We rip out every weed and douse our environment in toxic weed killers and toxic poisons. THIS is not producing the healthy environment for ourselves, our children, our pets or our community in which to thrive and grow. All those toxins leach into our water and we poison ourselves to produce some unnatural form of–nature. Think about that.
While my yard may look like a nature preserve, I am teaching my sons how to treat a mother–Mother Nature that is. Be kind. Be gentle. Be good. Our mission here in this life isn’t to subdue and destroy and control. At least not in my world. It is to co-exist and love and nurture. THAT is why we are really here. And you can live that starting in your own back yard.