In Japan, May 4 is Greenery Day; a time to commune with nature and appreciate that we are not masters of nature, but part of it.
For our part, we went grocery shopping and worked in the yard and garden. I planted more seeds and seedlings. Our yard is very small, but we're growing a lot of different veggies: potatoes (2 kinds), broccoli, carrots, various lettuces, peas, tomatoes (two varieties), corn, chingensai (bok choy), peas, zucchini (right now priced at about US$2 each in the store!), spinach, radishes, and herbs (rosemary and four kinds of basil). Nothing like organic veggies fresh from the garden. We've got five blueberry bushes now - wish we had space for more. I buy frozen ones from Canada for off-season eating. Coaxing some strawberry plants too. So many things to grow, so little room!
This area is also a designated Wildlife Protection Area and each year that I've lived here, the variety seems to have increased. Bird calls often awaken me at first light - like 4:00 at this time of year. My favorite is the Uguisu or Japanese bush warbler - a tiny green bird about the size of a sparrow that has a variety of songs and a very beautiful high volume voice. And then there are the squawks of male pheasants, hammering of woodpeckers, cooing of doves, and let's not forget the high pitched chatter of meadow larks as the hover 100 feet in the air.
At ground level we have grasses, flowers, trees, frogs, snakes like the friendly aodaisho (rat snake) and the poisonous yamakagashi (grass snake), the occasional tanuki (raccoon dog - a wild species of canine native to Japan), and atachi (weasels). We are lucky to live in such a place. At the lake there are more life forms to see in the form of fish and aquatic birds.
Greenery Day brings thoughts of plants, but all life is interconnected, so it is really about every living thing. Of course, it is all much more accessible to us when we leave the artificial cocoon of the automobile and venture forth on foot or by bicycle.
Wherever you live, and regardless of holidays, get out and interface with nature whenever you can. Sailing is a great way to do that. We plan to interface with wind and water tomorrow. Every day should be a day of appreciating our precious mother earth.
Until next, sweet sailing.