There’s a simple black fence surrounding the perimeter of the backyard at my new house. At first glance, it’s nothing special–just a tool to keep the children & pets corralled in one space where they can play and run a little more freely than they were used to. Truly, when we knew we were going to move into this house, it’s the only consideration I gave this fence.
As it turns out, there’s a lot more to that simple black fence. A. LOT. In the chaos of moving in, we were far too busy to pay much attention to the backyard, other than to acknowledge that it was certainly larger than what we’d previously had (to call our former yard “small” would be deeply generous). But, once all the boxes were unpacked and all the furniture was arranged, our backyard beckoned and we answered the call. Soccer balls were spread out for the girls to run and kick, tennis balls tossed around for the pups to play fetch, sprinklers and bubble machines set out for everyone. A picnic table for family dinners on the patio was set up and pots and pots of flowers, that would hopefully entice bees & butterflies, were planted. Spring was returning to Northeast Florida and, with it, a feathered friend here and there would land on that boring black fence that was meant to contain children and pets. Their visits didn’t go unnoticed and, soon, at the urging of my children, up went a bird feeder and with it, more and more and MORE birds came.
I never really intended to become a bird watcher; while I enjoy nature, birds never really piqued my interest until we lived in this house, with it’s, as it turns out, not-so-boring black fence. To my great surprise, it’s equal parts calming and entertaining. I have no idea what species of bird I’m looking at most of the time (save for the obvious bluebirds, cardinals and, yes, ducks who squeeze their plump bodies through the fence to rest in my grass), and they don’t need me to know what they are, either. They’re not here for me. They’re there for each other and for themselves (and for the food). They’re there to chatter, to eat, to fight, to sing, to mate, to rest, to play. And, as much as I’m enjoying watching the cacophony of activity, my children and pets are enjoying it even more and watching them watch it gives me the biggest thrill. My cat, who has absolutely no use for the outdoors what-so-ever, watches the backyard with a newfound and laser-focused interest. My eldest comes home from school and eagerly checks to see if the feeder has plenty of food for our evening visitors. My youngest rushes to the fence-line in the mornings to check on the ducks, egrets, herons and cormorants in the pond just behind the fence, as her ever-loyal pup follows by her side. My husband lingers on the patio, checking to see what kind of activity is happening at any given time along the fence and I, armed with my camera, sneak out into the yard and hope that they all ignore me and my constant click-click-clicking as I document it all. And, whether we’re home or not, throughout the day, that black fence serves as a meeting place, or a resting spot, for which ever feathered friend stops by for a visit.
Not too long ago, someone mentioned to me that my new interest in birds made me weird. But, truth be told, it all seems pretty normal to me. A normal that I never really knew existed before since we’ve never really had this kind of access to nature, but a normal that I would sorely miss now. What’s really happened is that, in the middle of a busy life, we’ve slowed down and looked around. This plain, boring black fence is the backdrop for something wonderful and beautiful and fun. My backyard is alive with nature now, and every single person in my house benefits from that and my heart is happy as a result.
PS. Should I decide to dress up as an old lady, adopt a British accent, make my way into the backyard with a bag of seed and start to sing “Feed the birds” from Mary Poppins, we can happily revisit the discussion of what may or may not be weird where birds are concerned.
Now that you’ve finished reading my take on this month’s theme, click here to make your way to Elizabeth Willson’s blog to see her interpretation of the color Black. Once you’re done, continue around the circle to see how other artists’ have been inspired by this color!
The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.