As I sit on my backyard deck, my children splashing in their inflatable pool, I am reminded of how much joy comes from being outdoors.  The backyard has become our respite, our escape during covid-19 and the lock down.  We’ve developed a daily routine for dining alfresco as much as we possibly can.  When our 1,300 sf home starts to feel “too small” going out into the green feels so good.   The pine boughs, unwavering.  

I especially love our peonies.  Every time I look at them, I am reminded of the peony garden my grandpa had in his backyard.   My family visited him every Sunday after Mass.  Me and my siblings would race the two blocks to his house and go straight to the garden.  He was always there.  He would peek out from under his brimmed hat with a wry smile on his face.  One hand always held his hoe for support and the other was used weed or tend to his peonies.  My grandpa loved his gardens.  I never really understood why until I have had my own children.  In a time when there is so much certainty, sadness and fear, surrounding yourself with nature is so important.  Nature is where life refuses to stop moving!  Vegetables continue to bust up and out of the soil and beautiful flower blossoms continue show-off in the sunshine.  My grandfather, a man who survived mustard gas during WWI and raised 6 young children on his own, chose to spend hours and hours of time in his gardens.  Nature-a place that helps to bring hope and healing to all of us.