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My Own “Limberlost”

Posted by Sooz on Thursday, July 21, 2011 | No Comments

We are delighted to have Debbie again as our guest writer. Today she shares a story inspired by our encouragement to “Seek Beauty Everyday.” We hope it will encourage you to do the same!

Indiana author Gene Stratton-Porter was a truly a Society member before her time. My grandmother first introduced me to Porter’s works during one of those “What can I do?” phases of summer vacation. “Go read,” was often Granny’s solution to summer boredom, and one memorable recommendation was Porter’s famed novel, Freckles. Porter wove references to nature around true-blue stories of ordinary people. The setting for several of her works was The Limberlost, a nature-lover’s paradise in northeastern Indiana.

Ask any member of my immediate family, and probably not one will recognize the name Gene Stratton-Porter or Freckles. They will, however, know The Limberlost. Not the one Porter made famous. The spot I claimed as my own Limberlost, right in the middle of 21st century suburbia.

My morning routine, inspired by the Society, involves grabbing coffee at a mom-and-pop shop and heading off to a quiet place. I like to try to snag some life-giving moments before officially starting my day. Most days I go alone. Weekends my husband joins me. Enter: The Limberlost. Not a pastoral hillside. Not an awe-inspiring mountaintop. Not a scenic view of cascading waterfalls. My Limberlost consists of less than a quarter acre of…well, woods that adjoin a Publix Super Market parking lot. For some reason, the developer just fenced off the area—sort of paved paradise the size of a postage stamp.

For months, I’d park in the same spot and look around for something of beauty (per the Society’s suggestion). Something simple. Something to remind me that a brief peek at nature would lend some balance to my frantic schedule.

One day last fall, I noticed that as the foliage fell, the birds began to emerge in myLimberlost: chickadees Tom and Jerry, titmice Topo and Gigio (we don’t mention the breed name; it’s sort of embarrassingly naughty-sounding), finches Goldie and friends, mockingbirds, red-winged blackbirds. The light bulb (incandescent, thank you very much) flickered above my head. I’ll bet those birds would love a suet snack.

The next day, I invested a whopping $4 in a suet feeder and placed it in a tree in front of my favorite parking spot. Since that time, those little suet cakes have become the squawk of The Limberlost. Not only have my bird friends enjoyed the treat, but so have squirrels Rocky and Rosie. (If you don’t make the connection with Rocky’s name, you probably don’t know Bullwinkle, either. Better Google that.)

This morning, as I looked for beauty in The Limberlost, Louie (St. Louis baseball mascot wannabe) and significant other, Louise arrived. Cardinals are platform feeders; Louie and Louise harvest the seeds that fall from the suet feeder—they’re sort of a clean up crew, but they’re cool with that. Both of them searched for seeds for a bit. Then, Louie, chivalrous gent that he is, began collecting seeds and feeding them to Louise. What a guy! Moreover, what a way to start my day!

I believe that everyone should have his or her own version of The Limberlost. It could be anywhere! Maybe you live near a pastoral hillside, an awe-inspiring mountaintop, or some cascading waterfalls. Maybe your Limberlost is right outside your window, in a private place…maybe like mine—in a Publix place. There’s plenty of parking out there. Claim a spot for yourself.

A “Good” Idea:

Don’t let suburbia keep you from finding your Limberlost. Pick a spot and tell us about it. We want to hear from you!

If you would like to learn more about Gene Stratton-Porter please visit: http://www.genestrattonporter.net/

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