An evening in paradise

Published 4:12 am Wednesday, April 18, 2018

There are so many things to do and so much life to enjoy, but occasionally I get in a rut. Instead of all the myriad of things I could be experiencing I have been spending way too much time watching TV.

My way of balancing things out is to go cold turkey and stop whatever thing takes too much of my attention. Not forever mind you, but long enough for the habit to be broken. The first day without television was a little awkward, but I caught up on some reading I had been wanting to do.

This afternoon finds me enjoying the beautiful outdoors. The azaleas I planted in the fall made it through the cold weather without a hitch. I’m supremely excited that my oak leaf hydrangea looks healthy and is growing like crazy. I notice my neighbor has a beaver cage on his small tree near the water’s edge so I guess they still munch on whatever they can get to.

The recent heavy rains caused the lake behind the house to swell. I actually find it prettier at full capacity, but so much pressure on the dam is probably not a good thing. The water tumbling from the overflow sounds pleasant.

I can close my eyes and imagine a perfectly pristine waterfall with clear, cool water splashing on moss-covered rocks.

One of the neighbors chooses this moment to crank his mower, and I quickly return to my back yard glider. The music of the gushing water is drowned out, but the cheery birds join in the melody of Springtime in the South.

The lonesome whistle of a passing train adds to the afternoon’s chorus. My faithful Missy, black, beautiful and very spoiled licks the plate I lay on the ground for her. The evening sun sinks lower in the sky and a huge grey heron flies in for her repast.

I sit a silent statue willing my feathered friend to continue her hunting expedition. Missy whines for me to pick her up. I move as quietly and stealthily as possible. When I slip Missy into my lap and look up my friend has disappeared. I wonder how she could have been startled away by my small movement when I notice my neighbor and his standard poodle taking their evening stroll. I guess they must have startled my heron friend, interrupting her meal.

My other neighbors let their dogs out and yell at them as they dart over to my yard. I call out, “They are ok. They aren’t going to hurt anything.”

Neighborhood living took me a little while to get used to, but I like it. My sweatshirt feels nice in the slight evening chill, and I breath deeply. My thoughts turn to my maker and all the ways that He has blessed me. The shadows darken and my heart sings a song of joy.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at