I had a few hours between the end of my last garden consultation of the day and my evening volunteering to choose the next scholarship recipient for the CT Nursery and Landscape Association, an annual job I love. I decided to pay a visit to the cemetery where my parents and grandparents are buried. It is a beautiful place, filled with large trees and vast expanses of lawn as all of the grave markers are at ground level. The sun was shining, the air was sweet, and I easily found my special spot.
After weeding around the markers and dusting off the winter's dirt, I sat down and relaxed in the sunshine, letting memories pour over me. It was then that I noticed the birds. Happy birdsong came from every tree and hedgerow, enough to drown out the sound of cars on the road nearby. But it was the flocks of robins that really enchanted me.
They were everywhere, flitting about the grounds, hundreds of them. Digging worms. How do the do that, knowing just where to poke their beaks in the soil to find a worm. I am sure somebody knows what signals they get that says "poke here!". What made me extra specially happy was that as I sat on the grass I saw weeds everywhere. Fernleaf yarrow. Clover, Dandelions. Ground Ivy. Sorrel. Every common lawn weed was apparent to me as I looked around. Aha. This cemetery doesn't use poisons on their lawns. As I sat there on the ground, feeling incredibly tiny in this immense sacred space, I tried to imagine what it would cost, and the labor it would take, to spread weed killers and pesticides on this lawn. I shuddered. Then I thought about just the few people I had seen in my hour there, people kneeling on the ground, sitting, engaging with the earth, and consequently the lawn. What a relief.
Lucky robins. They have found a safe place to live and, as drove in and surveyed the scene, it was clear that nobody was worse off because of it.