We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?
--- Wendell Berry
Is it enough, I ask myself, this fraction of an acre, this small frame house built after the war, built on the pattern of my first childhood home, and my beloved grandparents’ home too? Is it enough, this small vegetable garden struggling to come alive in my front yard, these six fenced in and bird- netted blueberry bushes in my back yard? These thousand tiny blue Star of Holland scilla (a nod to my heritage), six weeks in bloom beside the blueberry blue to come? Is it enough, these two birdhouses and one bird feeder, this daily fluttery gathering of goldfinches and purple finches? These visits by the four doves, and the downy woodpecker, and the cheerful chickadees? These antics of the two grey squirrels and the two red squirrels and the two scurrying chipmunks, each of whom has climbed up the bird feeder pole to feast on the sunflower hearts and cracked corn, on the nuts and on the nyjer bought especially for the finches? Out the front window, there’s a woodchuck who emerges from her den across the street in the late afternoon. In the backyard, skunks and raccoons saunter through if I happen to glance out the window after dark.
Is it enough to walk the greening fields of Sabin pasture, to cross the brook in my wading boots, to climb the hills through the young aspen grove, past the pines that line the slot canyon, to watch the raven who nests atop the slate cliffs patrolling, protecting the nest his mate sits atop now? And yesterday, a pileated woodpecker hammering a tree trunk, later, its cry echoing in the valley. Is it enough to summit the hills and turn to look at Camel’s Hump Mountain, the shiny new golden dome of the capitol in the foreground, the mansard-roofed buildings of the old college, Covid empty, but brimming still, like the budding trees bordering the green around it, with promise, with potential for a maybe far off reblooming?
I wear my mask under the chin but at the ready for an infrequent encounter and I answer to myself, this much is indeed enough.