This is the summer of our discontent. The persistence of the coronavirus pandemic has us feeling hemmed in and anxious. The protests over police violence and social inequity have us revved up and concerned. And the monumental incompetence, self-dealing and venality of national leadership has us outraged and appalled.

A lot of our usual escapes from the worries of the world are not available to us in a time when taking a vacation trip can be a perilous gamble with COVID-19. As a result – perhaps the primary positive result of being bunkered for these long months of social distancing – many people are finding their escapes very close to home in gardens, backyards and neighborhood walks.

It has been a blessing to be forced to slow down and notice the little miracles right outside; birds that seem to be more numerous and eager to sing, branches of apple trees growing heavy with a ripening crop, butterflies flitting over the neighbor’s fence, hummingbirds finding sustenance among bright flowers. I have lived in my own house for a long time, but, thanks to being sequestered at home in the company of a vivacious, curious 2-year-old, I have gotten to know my own backyard in a new way through her eyes. It turns out there’s a lot going on out there – and it is all good news.

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