Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just another night in my backyard

Use to be in my backyard I would heat up the old weber grill. Throw a couple of burgers on it. Maybe a dog or two. A brat if I was REALLY living high. Sometimes I would climb on my dad's old riding lawn mower and make a few spins around the grounds, trimming the grass down to a very low level. It brought back great memories. Almost as if dad were riding there with me. When Bear (our Golden Retriever) was still around I would clean out the dog run. Okay, I'd have the kids clean out the dog run. (I'm too old to start lying now.) Sometimes the boys and I would play a game of catch. Or we would take turns standing in the front yard hitting whiffle balls over the house to be caught by the other two in the backyard. Our huge trees would often make the whiffle ball act more like a pin ball, bouncing from limb to limb before (hopefully) coming to rest in our hands. After dark the hammock was the great temptation. It would hang between one maple tree and an iron pole marking the end of the clothes line. You could look up through the branches of the trees and see countless stars. Until an ant dropped off of a leaf or a limb and into your widely gaping mouth. Yum. Kelli loved the hammock. She hated the ants. The hum of the air conditioners could be clearly heard as the neighborhood fought to keep the oppressive summer heat at bay. It was a great place to raise kids. Actually, it wasn't a bad place to just "be." Then, in the last years, the storms came. The trees paid the price, nearly dying in the gales dropping out of the thunderheads. It cost me over $1,000 to get them shaped up so that they would be safe to walk under again. Today they are beginning to regain some of their former beauty. I've always believed in letting trees grow. Never was one for much pruning. I always said, "They are God's trees. He can trim them anytime He wants to." Well, he took me up on my offer and it took me days to clean up the mess. There is a lesson there. Somewhere.

My backyard is different these days. Tonight it is filled with hundreds of the famous Cleveland "Mayflies." You don't dare walk outside tonight with your mouth open. I'm not exaggerating. They will fly in and bring a few friends with them. The wind is howling in off of the lake. With sliding doors open on both ends of our apartment we officialy live in a wind tunnel. Last night we slept with our bedroom patio door open and enjoyed the lullaby of God's waves crashing into the shore. It was hypnotic. And tonight? Well, a picture is worth a thousand words. A video? Must be worth a million. Here is my backyard on this cool, windy, bug filled, June evening. (About a third of the way through the video you will see a black blur. Not to worry. It's simply a Mayfly buzzing my lens. And by the way, walk 31 miles straight ahead and you find yourself in Canada.)