Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Restful Bench

the restful bench 9.19.15

To rescue means to save from danger or distress. As a noun, it means the act of saving or of being saved from such situations.

For many years, my boss and friend, a veterinarian, operated an animal rescue, saving from danger and death countless puppies, kittens, cats, and dogs. Eventually, the intensity of the work began to take a toll upon her family life, so she closed the rescue.

Over the years, she garnered much support from the community, including a local Girl Scout troop. During the summer before the rescue closed, the troop presented us with a handsome brown wooden bench, decorated with hand painted paw prints, dog bones, the name of the rescue, and the troop’s number. The girls and the troop leader created a lovely spot for the bench, complete with flowers and several rescue-themed, homemade stepping stones. It was a wonderful place for visitors to enjoy, often spending some time there with a newly adopted dog.

After the rescue closed, Dr. K kindly gifted me the bench. My co-worker Katie helped me bring it home, the two of us easily stowing it into her great old green Ford truck, “Dino.”  We put it in my backyard, in front of the spot where a grand old maple had once stood. Until the weather got too cold, I often enjoyed sitting on the rescue bench, enjoying the yard’s transition from fall to winter. The bench overwintered outdoors, bearing up very well.

After the springtime breezeway renovation, I moved the bench inside. Being a wood slatted bench, it was a scosh uncomfortable, even for well-padded me. A comfortable bench pad, made with several colorful blankets and a squishy, homemade pillow transformed the rescue bench into the Restful Bench.

Here, I’ve enjoyed a summer of creativity, writing and reading, meditation, garden planning, and, most often, a restive enjoyment of simply being still, as my backyard nature plays out, and my dogs and cat play on.

Monarchs Rule


 9.18.15 monarch on mexican torch 2

Monarch visiting Mexican Torch sunflower

September 19, 2015

Today, for the first time in years, I am seeing Monarch butterflies in my yard.

First, this morning, one landed on the sedum in front of the evergreen bushes by the front door, then flew on to the Mexican Torch sunflowers at the other end of the porch. That single Monarch lingered on the sunflower while I ran an errand, tarrying there for nearly 20 minutes.

Later, as I relaxed with Melanie, Tank, and Donal on the breezeway, I watched a micro-band of Monarchs swarming the backyard sunflower patch. Four individuals flittered and danced from flower to flower, preferring the fiery red-orange Mexican Torches to the sedate pale yellow Italian Whites.

The sunflower patch can now be called a sunflower bush. Although beginning as several individual plants, they’ve grown so closely together, to over six feet tall and wide, taking on the proportions of a giant, multi-branched individual.

Between the critters and me on the breezeway and the sunflowers is a wide expanse of overgrown lawn. Grass and weed seed-heads sway in the breeze and pairs of tiny brown and orange butterflies swirl up from the blades, twirling and cavorting around each other before disappearing into the low-leaved limbs of the maple tree.

Although the grassy savannah closest to the house will become a vegetable garden next spring, I think the space just beyond, between the two pear trees will be set aside for a butterfly kingdom, a space where monarchs may rule again.