A Magic Few Square Feet of Freedom and Peace

For many years our backyard was used mainly by wildlife, wildflowers, weeds, the erratic bubbling in the creek beyond it, cats, possums, raccoons, venomous and non-venomous snakes, and countless squirrels. We rarely enjoyed it because it meant a lot of work that was invariably destined to be undone or made unsafe by all those mentioned above. A combination of frustration and laziness led to years of not wanting to expend energy. Last year, I started rethinking the space, rolled up my sleeves (well, mostly not having to wear anything sleeve-y because, yes, Texas), and decided to change things and pour my energy into defying the odds.

Last year to the month, I had made the space more accessible, easier to walk around, sit in, and enjoy. We had many days of joy watching movies on a projector screen while sipping lemonade, surrounded by nature (and countless mosquitoes) and its sounds. It was also the scene for fun and impromptu get-togethers, wholesome conversations among friends, laughter, and tears, and reflecting on everything under the sun and the moon. Many hours were spent simply taking in the wide variety of birds around it, such as blue jays, mockingbirds, cardinals, finches, titmice, wrens, crows, owls, etc. (By the way, I recommend The Cornell Lab’s “Merlin” app to identify and explore all the birds around us at any given time.)

This year, needing to recover from my injuries and therefore having to limit my routine activities that were more physical, I decided to spend a significant amount of time outdoors and truly transform the deck and the yard into something peaceful, serene, and filled with color and ambiance – no matter the time of day. Yet I devoted extra attention to the night scene. Many an eyebrow rose when I shared my plans because Texas evenings and nights are filled with all those pesky insects that make it their mission to irritate whoever intends to spend substantial time outside. I did not want to invest more time, energy, and money than strictly necessary, and I was fueled by the desire to keep it simple yet versatile and effective.

I creatively fixed a few of the 40-year-old wood deck’s failing planks and added solar-powered lighting that would be self-sufficient, low maintenance, and withstand the elements. I used part of the wood fence on the deck for a mandala display, properly safeguarding the fabric from the elements. I added some much-needed color in the form of plants and flowers. During the day, the space feels idyllic and inspirational; at night, it is relaxing and peaceful. It has become the space that invites pleasant and quiet coffee moments in the morning, a fantastic place to work surrounded by metropolitan white noise that is barely heard over nature sounds, and an unwinding and inspirational setting for creating, playing, and sharing music any evening and into late at night – all without a care in the world. It is shutting out everything except living in the moment.

We spent less than a dinner for four in a good restaurant to make it all happen, and it will provide the backdrop (in many ways) for future posts this month and possibly for months to come. Most importantly, it has become the space I have always envisioned: serene, unpretentious, and full of self-expression. A place to call home for a weary soul that finds itself amusingly and gratefully solar-powered. Some days it finds itself more charged up than others, but made happy by everything it is surrounded by and all that keeps inspiring and refueling it if only given the opportunity to – away from all the unnecessary noise of daily life. A filter of sorts: renewable and simple. In short, a few magical square feet of freedom from strife encourage living in the moment and appreciating life.

One thought on “A Magic Few Square Feet of Freedom and Peace

  1. Peaceful. Restful. Tranquil. Space. Well done. Enjoy.

    * beautiful mandala wall, gorgeous creations. 🧶💜

    A fellow space-needing soul, 😊

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