A busy day. A day filled with life in all its varied forms, from the little microbes and vermin that turn banana peels and rice to compost. Such hard workers, they deserve a new compost bin, I decided. And we need a place to leave curing compost while we spread that ready black gold (not oil, not by a long shot, except literally) in our postage-stamp-size garden.
Next steps: out with the old, in with the new. Roots, tired soil, and general chaos of six plus months of sitting unattended pile up in our little beds, so the Girl and I rake and hoe until we have a loose mat of roots sitting beside the beds and loose, dark soil ready for a turn of new compost. We plant beans, sugar peas, and peppers in the tired bed on the left in an effort to replenish some nitrogen and more tomatoes in the right bed.
Then we come to the part the Girl has been waiting for all day. Every activity has been punctuated with a simple question: “Daddy, is it time to bring the flowers yet?” She had a list of dream flowers, an amalgamation of flowers she heard about in class, read about in various books, and simply liked: Sweet Williams, zinnias, marigolds, snapdragons, and a few others.
We set up a temporary potting workbench with sawhorses and some plywood and get to work.
As I head to the front with a couple of pots, I notice our bird family that has made its home in the crook of our gutter now has teens in the nest.
“L,” I call, “Come look at this!” We watch them for a bit, gently jostling the bottom of the nest to see if they will reflexively open their mouths for a feeding. Instead, the hunker down, pulling up half-down, half-feathered wings — part of newly formed instincts.
We return to the backyard to finish our cleanup. “They’ll be gone soon,” I explain as we walk.
“Why?” she asks.
“They’ll be grown and leave the nest to start their own lives.”
I think of how quickly it all has developed: a nest one day, a few eggs in the blink of the eye, some bald chicks craning for food a whisper later. I think of how quickly it has all developed, and I am glad that humans develop so much more slowly.