In my previous post, I noted the nature that I experience at my place – the ornery landscape plants, opinionated birds, and gardening triumphs and tragedies.
So, will this be book that stays home? And this going to be another one of those “pretty picture, worship nature” books? No to the second power!
Early in life, I learned that Mother Nature does wonderful things for us, but she also demands respect. Take, for example, those pokeweed berries shown above. Don’t even think of eating them. Just don’t.
This was a lesson I learned while I was a toddler in western Pennsylvania. Being the curious sort, I just had to sample some of the local plant life. Those berries – I’ve forgotten the name – were just as poisonous as the pokeweed.
I didn’t get sick, but I sure got in trouble. Facing the wrath of my parents was bad enough, but what came next was even worse. My friends – neighborhood playmates since infancy – sat me down and forced me to listen while they gave speeches. The punchline: “Martha Retallick! Never eat berries!” Who needed parents with friends like these?
I listened – and I never ate poisonous berries again.
She’s the Boss!
After graduating from university, I got acquainted with nature in a much bigger way. I’d set the goal of bicycling in all 50 of the United States, and, once again, Mother Nature was the boss. Didn’t matter if I was riding with a headwind or a tailwind, in high heat and even higher humidity, or bone-chilling cold, I had to adapt myself to whatever she dished out.
So, when it came time to create a xeriscaped urban oasis here at home, I knew that it wouldn’t be about conquering nature – it would be a project done in conjunction with nature.
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