My Neighborhood: Nature in the City

A recent post on FIMBY by Renee Tougas about lifestyle choices got me thinking about my life, my choices, and how that is reflected in my story. I have spent the majority of the last 12 years living in urban environments. Some have been very urban (North Philadelphia) while others, like our current home, is tucked between "the city" and "the suburbs". David and I also have a penchant for traveling to cities rather than roaming through farm land. This was evidenced as we just returned from a getaway to Minneapolis/St. Paul and while there talked about places we'd like to go in the future-- all cities!

On one hand cities offer so much to do, concentrations of culture and food. Yet, I don't think we consider cities a place where nature blossoms--at least outside of zoos and city gardens. With the advent of spring, I have been reminded how much nature is available in my backyard- despite not having a wood or creek or field.

In our neighborhood, we have squirrels a plenty. They can be bothersome to vegetable patches and bird feeders, but they are also hysterical to watch chasing each other. There is also a resident chipmunk who I saw skittering down the sidewalk just last week, little tail bolt upright as it dashed from our neighbor's bush to a hole in our mulch. A less desirable animal is a groundhog who seems to hide under our neighbor's sheds. Last year, Mr. Groundhog ate all of Patty's sunflowers. We're hoping to live trap him and remove him from our area, but he's proven crafty. A far more beautiful and arresting animal is our neighborhood red fox. I am personally tickled to have such a lovely beast to share our little scrap of earth. We saw the vixen early one morning. The sun was rising, the mist slowly dissipating and her gorgeous coat of rust trollopping across our backyard. Foxes are wonderful creatures to have in a city. We are on the look out for her return.

This evening with the damp and rain we witnessed a robin pull a worm from the ground, divide it on our patio, and eat one half. Than a male and female cardinal came and pecked at the leftovers. All we had to do was stand at our kitchen window. Meanwhile, if you look out the bathroom window at our rose and clematis arbor you will see a small nest lovingly built by mourning doves. We can't wait to hear the peeps and calls of the chicks when the hatch. There is also a pair of woodpeckers that reside one street over. We hear their pecking in the late afternoon rhythmically tick-ticking the passage of time.

We have vegetable gardens that are being planted and produce that will be shared among neighbors as spring gives way to summer bounty. And of course, we have flowers. Our next door neighbor has gorgeous tulips and daffodils everyone enjoys viewing in early spring. As the forsythia turn from yellow to green the azalea bushes are ablaze with pink, white, and red blooms. Roses are being watered and hydrangeas heavy with green buds patiently await warmer days. Color, texture, fragrance  fill my neighborhood each season of the year. Holly bushes in winter; hosta and lily of the valley every spring; summer holds hibiscus and rhubarb; and fall the yellow ginkgo and the flame red of fire bushes. It's a delight to the senses. It's also a testimony of time, of tending. Patience from past growers and the continued diligence of current owners. I live in a beautiful place.

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