The title of this post, "God's Half Acre," came to me this morning as I was sitting and deeply appreciating what was going on in my little domain in southwest Florida. Our property is just over a half acre in size, so this is a kind of literal tagging. I know there was a book and movie of that name which was much darker in tone than what I am writing about, but the headline sticks and overrides that. And this is not anything special, since I realize of course that every half acre is God’s, since God as I know it is embodied and manifest in every single bit of creation. But this is the one I am currently experiencing, so here it is. A short morning walk around the land today brought many things to observe, including:
**The (Great Blue) heron that caught a huge dark fish in the next-door pond—a fish seemingly far too large to get down its throat (herons swallow their food whole). The bird kept worrying the fish, bringing it to the bank and spearing it repeatedly with its sharp beak (it flipped around for some time before it died), then repeatedly re-catching it in its beak, approximating how to position it. In the process the fish was perpendicular to the beak, hanging out the sides rather than aligned with it. The heron kept dipping the fish in the water, probably to help lubricate it, and after many, many minutes of effort, the fish did actually get aligned perfectly and swallowed, somehow making it down that long thin neck. It seemed to defy the laws of physics, and even I felt exhausted after watching the process.
**While this drama was going on, I looked up the drainage canal and saw four other birds getting their morning meals too—a smaller heron, an egret, a woodstork, and an ibis! The weather has been dry and the water level is low, which must make for easier hunting for these birds. I often see them, but not so many different species at once in such a small area.
**And I looked up from the water’s edge to catch a ruckus above—a small bird (probably a mockingbird? I couldn’t see clearly) dive bombing a much bigger crow, over and over. It was likely defending a nest, which seemed very brave, especially as there were other crows screaming and flying about and only one small attacker.
**There was a wealth of other activity nearby, from animals unperturbed by all this drama. I became aware of the staccato tapping of a woodpecker; a pair of bunnies brazenly and calmly chewing their way through the grass; the black rat snake slithering under the bushes (I hadn’t seen it in months, and was happy to know it’s still here, as it’s harmless and its movement is truly beautiful to watch); the countless little anole lizards that dart around and posture for mating—one is always catching their motion out of the corner of the eye; legions of spiders tending their webs and obviously helping to control what must be a legion of even smaller insect life. How much more goes unnoticed?
**And none of this is to mention the flora, which was deeply in my awareness too—the slowing growing pineapple, the stunning bromeliad flowers, the grace of the palm fronds and swaying Spanish moss, the unbelievably quick growth of the vines of the purple yams (ube) that overnight wrapped themselves around my hammock, calling to mind the speed and magic of Jack’s beanstalk. And so much more, always the background of green.
That was just this morning’s greeting the day. I am aware of so many other little miraculous, wondrous things—my decanter of kombucha, something else alive, with its healthy scoby getting noticeably larger by the day; a vase of tulips that a kind friend brought which had sat outside in the sun and got very droopy, but revived joyfully when fed more water and an asprin (!); the banana fiber (abaca) soaking in a green translucent bowl on the table. There’s a long story around that and I will likely share it in depth when it has reached more of a conclusion, but the short version is that after a banana tree fruits, it dies. It seems wasteful, and since I knew that abaca is a prized fiber in Asia, I kept thinking I had to be able to do something with all the fiber in the about-to-die central stalk. I’ve been playing with processing it, though I have none of the right tools, and I do have a small amount of smooth flax-like fiber now.
I am not a Pollyanna who only sees the wonder—though I would like to be!—but my inspiration to share on this site comes in those times when I do. If any of this touches you, and if I can help anyone cultivate that state, then hallelujah.
I have been writing a great deal and may share more of that output another day. My visual art practice has been slower, but I am posting a few images here of some of that more recent work. Now that we are coming out of covid isolation, I am envisioning exhibits of my work manifesting easily. If you can help broker that, please let me know.
Thank you so much for your presence.