I became obsessed with freeing the starved Earth beneath my driveway. It didn’t take long before I found myself with a pry bar and an asphalt recycling dumpster, methodically dismantling the driveway.
Now I walk the garden three times a day, noticing the little changes: the first red raspberry, the purple flash of a new maypop.
I watch as the wildflowers poke through the soil and the Carolina jessamine coils one more time around the fence. A quarter-inch of growth is something my whole family celebrates. To any outsider nothing is different, but my family and I marvel at the incremental changes.
Endless buzzing insects — including hummingbird moths, eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies, and imperiled monarchs — have all stopped by to fuel up in my garden. Not to mention black snakes, black bears, rabbits, turkeys, chipmunks, moles and deer.
I’ve spotted dozens of birds, including rose-breasted grosbeak, who migrate from North America to South America. Some grosbeaks, I’ve learned, cross the Gulf of Mexico in a single night. That they choose to use my garden as a stopover is the kind of thrill I revisit in my mind for weeks, long after they’ve winged themselves back into the air and crossed state lines.