My computer sits by a window. Through it, I see a wedge-shaped view of our front yard. On a recent morning, the first thing I noticed out there was that the basin of our birdbath was knocked off its pedestal. It was sitting on edge, leaning against the pedestal.
I shouldnt say knocked off. More correctly I should say tipped off, because I know what happened. This wasnt the first time.
Usually, our birdbath attracts doves, sparrows and other birds, but sometimes it attracts cats.
Cats drink from our birdbath. Ive seen them. They stand upright on their hind legs and hook their front paws and chin over the rim of the birdbath basin. Then they lap up the water with their patented, feline backward-tongue technique. It takes a good-sized cat to lap from the basin, but Ive seen several do it.
They do, however, face a slight hazard. Our birdbath is just your basic model. Its two pieces of cast concrete: the pedestal and basin. The basin isnt held in place with bolts, latches, epoxy or anything. It relies solely on gravity. It just rests on three little bumps on top of the pedestal.
So, a stretched-out, lapping cat will occasionally disturb the basins center of gravity and tip it over toward him. But, so far, all the cats were quick and nimble and retained all nine of their lives.
From time to time when I look out in the morning, I see the basin on the ground, on its edge, leaning against its pedestal, but Ive never seen evidence that it hit a cat. I used to wish it would hit one. I also used to chase cats away when I caught them birdbath drinking. But, now I see them as just another natural feature of our yard.
Weve lived in this house almost 30 years, and about half of all our present flowers came in as uninvited squatter seeds, riding on the wind or in run-off water. And even the plants that we planted are still here only because they passed the survival of the fittest test.
After I plant something, I pretty much leave it on its own. Oh, I try to protect it from invasive, ugly weeds, but otherwise the plants and bushes in my yard have to be able to thrive on neglect. And some do so well that I now find Im spending most of my time thinning them out.
It just recently dawned on me that gardening is my hobby. I used to think it was just a chore. But my overgrown yard may be showing me the purpose of life, which seems to be to reproduce life. Dandelions demonstrate that.
Reach Phil Dirkx at email@example.com or 238-2372.