Sunday Morning ~ Searching for Balance
Mlandu sugwera pa mtengo. ~ A tree never has a court case.
~ Chewa proverb
October 8, 2023
I’ve spent the last three months chasing deer out of my yard. Once they got over the garden fence for the first time in twenty-five years, they’ve come every night consuming every new leaf that sprouts. I sprayed a rotten egg mixture, hung bars of soap, covered plants with netting, in a vain attempt to salvage what I’d planted. While visiting my neighbor one Sunday I saw a deer munching her shrubs and pointed to it. She was non-plussed. “I can’t stop them.” she said. I was surprised she didn’t try to shoo it away as I do. I thought about her reaction and decided she has the right attitude. I’m the one encroaching their turf. They should not have to alter their behavior for me.
I love growing my own vegetables. Until this summer, my biggest problem was not enough sun to ripen my tomatoes. Slugs had previously been my most challenging pest, so I laid a copper barrier around all the beds and marveled at how well it kept the slugs away. When the first deer jumped the fence and invited all her friends and family to the feast, the copper was not a deterrent. I put up netting, they pulled it down. I propped up a taller barrier, they made a new entrance. Envious of my neighbor’s nonchalance, I started thinking about how I might enjoy the sight of deer instead of being angered by it. When I declared my garden a total loss, I decided to shift my tack. Since I won’t be here next summer, I’ll spend time planning a landscaping renovation. It’ll give me something to do on long lonely evenings. I’ll take down the shorter fence and erect one high enough to ensure a safe garden space. I’ll reclaim my summers. If deer want to see what’s on the menu at my address they can eat their fill of acorns.
On this Indigenous Peoples Day I’m reflecting on how to live in harmony with my environment. I’ve never fertilized my lawn or used herbicides. I only use organic matter in the garden. My useless deer repellent was not toxic, and though I did get traps for the carpenter ants, I only use mint spray to keep the rodents away. But I started thinking about the losing battle of keeping the deer out of the yard and thought about what it might be like to welcome them and create a space where we can live together without angst. I want to look out my window and be grateful. I want to live in harmony with creatures and seasons.
We had a severe storm Saturday night that brought down a lot of trees. One fell close to my little house, blocking the back door. I’m grateful it did not hit the roof, but as I inspected it this morning I thought, I’m the one who put the house there. The tree is not trying to ruin my house; it falls where it must. I’m thinking more and more about how we have tried to impose our will upon nature instead of living in synch with it. It’s only me I can control.
Love to all,