A Place of Comfort

I love nature.  Part of my childhood was spent in the Batangas province, in a mountain, with a forest for a backyard and acres of farmland in the other direction.  However, another part of my childhood was spent in the thriving, crowded, noisy, concrete jungle that was the city of Manila, Philippines.

I can say for certain that if I were to be transplanted into the city, I would still survive.  BUT, I would still need my trees, my nature, my place of comfort.  I would have to go hunting for that place where birds nest, leaves rustle, and the dirt givess off that nostalgic, earthen smell that I love.

Today, I don’t live in the city, but I don’t live in the farm nor the mountains either.  My place of residence is in the suburbs – where most middle-class American families choose to raise their kids.  And while there are some trees here and there, they’re planted mostly for aesthetic purposes.  They’re interspursed between houses and along the sidewalks to make the city look less blocky, impersonal, and dull.

So where, then, is my place of comfort?

Luckily, not too far from home!  It’s in my parents’ backyard.  While they’ve never been the kind to landscape, because they’re more the practical sort, their backyard, nonetheless, is perfect.  At least to my kids and me.

There’s dirt where a pool or grass might be found.  There are avocado, lemon, and blood orange trees.  There are bursting grape vines and crawling butternut squash vines.  There’s even a vegetable garden patch – which is dry now, but will be full come Fall.

It’s where my children play in the dirt, splash in mud puddles after the rain, get grass and dirt stains on their faces and pants, get splinters and knee scrapes, chase bugs and lizards, pick leaves and weeds for their pretend salads, and witness the wonder of living things growing from a seed with a little dirt, water, sunlight, and lots of care.

I’m thankful for this place. And I’m thankful to my parents for having a place for us to escape from technology and the business of the world.  We are truly blessed, indeed.








  1. Dina Farmer says:

    Oh my gosh you have a beautiful yard!! Wow!

    I think the most comfortable place for me is in my son’s rocking chair were I read endless stories so many times a day and he snuggles under my arm. He will pick up my arm if I don’t put it around him. I know some day this small act of love will be over and we’ll never do it again. So for now this is the most comfortable place for me. Even when I’m sick of ready or my voice starts going hoarse I know that this singularly beautiful moment we share everyday is something I’ll treasure forever!

  2. Rorybore says:

    This captures so perfectly why the fact that I had a 400 acre farm in the country to run wild upon and explore during my childhood is one of the biggest blessings of my life. I don’t know what it’s like to NOT be out in Nature. To have the wind on my skin and birdsong in my ears. I love what the city offers to: Art, Culture, Restaurants…. but my soul craves the wide open spaces.

  3. David says:

    I was always a city boy. Born in New Orleans suburbs, but lived “uptown” through my teens. The most “country” I got was visiting my grandfolks in Sarasota, Florida (before all the condos)-Nana would take me crabbing, fishing, feeding peanuts to the jays, and swimming in the ocean. There were no fences between the houses, and I could walk in the grass for a long way. It was fun, but we always went back to the city. There was a time when I was living on the edge of the Atchafalaya basin, and could literally hunt from my back porch, but that wasn’t very long. I’ve never actually had to catch my own red meat, though I have recreationally caught my own fish, shrimp and crawfish. Even now, my back yard is small, nearly completely decked, and all my plants, except for one tree, are in a pot. “Country” now, to me is visiting my wife’s province of Pampanga, seeing bahay kubos, visiting Ngayon Philipino.

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