Life does not have to be complicated and a happy man does not need the latest gadget or car to lead a satisfying life.
A few years ago, I spent a lot of time on the road, up and down the west coast, writing about small towns, beauty spots, history, trees and wildflowers, sandpipers, oystercatchers, and seals, and people.
I had neglected my neighborhood and when I returned and settled down, I was surprised to find oystercatchers robe the rocks at the bottom of our hill and see seals bobbing in the bay, and was surprised by a bald eagle soaring over my garden.
But even though I have become tired of traveling, I find that I’m not missing much: there’s the bay, of course, framed by snowcapped peaks on the horizon. Forests run up towards the hills almost from my back fence; salmon spawn in the creek I cross when I walk to my favorite café, the grocery store, and the pub.
Right now, the last of the roses are blooming while the flower buds of the camellias are swelling; they will begin to bloom next month, flower in the snow, and brighten the garden until the first week of summer. I picked the last of the figs and the first of the apples this week. The grapes and pears are ripening at their own pace. Soon robins, starlings, and varied thrushes will arrive to help me with the harvest.
Walking through my autumn garden reminded me of the happy moments it brings me throughout the year, like,
raindrops atop magnolia leaves, sparkling like diamonds,
the scent of roses,
young raccoons eyeing me with curious eyes,
a friendly skunk, tail down, ambling past my deck chair,
a doe and her fawn feasting on blackberry canes,
a Steller’s jay screaming for a handout of peanuts,
bushtits and chickadees flitting through the vine maple branches,
a nuthatch running head-first down a hazel trunk,
a robin eating ripe grapes,
a downy woodpecker chipping away at the dead pine tree,
salmon fighting the currents of the creek as they splash upstream,
iridescent hummingbirds outside my office window on a snowy morning,
icicles on bare branches,
snow bending tall bamboos,
daffodils poking up through the snow,
the full moon setting over the bay,
to mention just a few.
Causes John Doerper Supports
Defenders of Wildlife
Doctors Without Borders
National Audubon Society
National Wildlife Federation