A Thousand Words or One Picture: My Back Yard


I have tried many times to capture the view from my seat on the back porch. Don’t ask me why a writer uses a camera and then complains when she doesn’t like the picture. Let me try to capture this beautiful view with words. Let me paint a mental image with words like green, buzz, twitter, soft breeze, warm sun, tree, twigs, and others.

From where I sit, early in the morning, the backyard is dappled with light and shadow. The sun rises above the privacy fence. It breaks apart into a million dancing filaments as it’s capture in the leaves of the large oak and young pecan that grace the yard. The sun stripes the rich green of the grass inviting me to lay in nature’s carpet with hands clasped behind my head and eyes on the sky.

Plants in pots awaken. My elephant ears perk up welcoming the sun with leaves the size of my two-year-old niece. Vines and flowers stretch and awaken as the light edges their leaves.

All around me, if I sit still enough, are the sounds of life. Traffic on the road makes up the monotonous background which my ears tone out. I’m far more interested in the faint call of the chickadees in the neighbors pine, the arguments of the sparrows in the martin house, the skittering of small bugs busy about their morning. If I sit very still the wrens that nest in our yard will come and hop about. The lizard who claims the back porch will step from hiding into the sun and we will share in the beauty of the morning.

A picture may be worth a thousand words but a thousand words will tell you of wind and birds and the color green. My seat on the back porch is my favorite place to be for there I’m surrounded by God’s creation, by flowers, trees, plants, sky, sun, leaves, birds, and bugs.

When I raise my eyes from the page to gaze away for a moment, maybe trying to think of a name for someone or deciding what they would say, the first thing I see is my leaning lamp-post trapped in the shad between the pecan and the oak. It whispers of Narnia and a way to the land of a Lion and brave beavers.

Beside it sits my birdbath with its cement mushrooms. It always makes me smile. The mushrooms bring to mind little folk both Hobbit and Fairy. Beyond the tree’s shadows, ever dancing in the Texas breeze, rest the rusted out swing-set. In my mind, it will someday be the bearer of flowers and vines, but first things first and second things never. It must wait its turn. For now it’s my piece of post-apocalyptic ‘art’, which makes people scratch their heads and wonder about mine. But like everything else, it conjures memories. They may be morbid scenes from action flicks where we’ve lost control of technology, but even those are happy memories of late nights with Dad. Beyond sci-fi memories dwells the idea of magical secrets. Under the veins will be an old swing set. Beyond the ivy will be a lost bike. Through the trees you’ll see a dirty gazing a ball and under the bush an old sundial. Creating my own secret garden is a lifelong endeavor, but knowing that frees me to one-thing-at-a-time, here and there, no need to rush.

Beyond the dreams of one day stands my neighbors fence. Beyond that sentinel of privacy climbs the tops of trees. Just enough trees to sooth the eye with their greenery, but not enough to hide the all-encompassing big blue sky. Nothing in Texas is as amazing as the sky that goes on and on and on. This alone will keep me tied here and when I get to Heaven, I hope my ‘mansion’ is built in a place with wide-open skies and lots of trees.

Now, I hope you understand why a picture just won’t do.

(In case you’re wondering, this article isn’t even a thousand words. It’s just about 700. Again, I think my gift is more writing and less picture-taking.)