Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Luke 8:17
We have a large pasture behind our house, about 6 acres. At one point our neighbor thought it a good idea to have a few cows. She is more or less a “gentleman farmer”, or in her case, gentlewoman. When she realized the cows had no profit margin, there went the cows. The pasture is now grown up in tall grass, not having been bush-hogged (also known as cutting/mowing it), in a couple of years.
It is not unsightly as it is really quite pretty in a rugged way. There are crabapple trees, which smell heavenly when blooming, along with a smattering of dogwoods that dot the pasture with popcorn white blossoms–but there is always the tall grass. Depending on the season, the grass captures the sun’s light, rewarding anyone who notices a dazzling palette of color.
One thing I’ve noticed is that this is an area of secrets. The overgrowth provides excellent cover for prey and predator alike. Each evening, at the same time, a group, of usually no less than 5 deer, seem to emerge out of this blanket of cover, crossing into our yard to nibble on our nice green grass. We’ve started putting out some corn in order to supplement their grazing– especially in the summer months when most of the vegetation dries up due to our recurring droughts.
Our kitchen window overlooks our backyard and the pasture, providing a wonderful viewing platform to watch the deer, various birds, the occasional wild turkey, the rabbits and fox. One of our cats enjoys meandering down to the edge of our yard and the pasture, imagining herself, I suppose, as a lioness surveying the savannah. She can sit for hours mesmerized watching the swaying grass and no doubt any small creature that stirs about. Mind you, the only thing she chases are butterflies, so all small animals and birds know they are perfectly safe.
It was, however, the other evening that I became quite alarmed. My husband and I were about to sit down to dinner when he noticed something ominous appearing almost magically out of the brush. It was a lone coyote. A troublesome predator in our region.
The coyote has all but decimated the wild quail population in Georgia as well as proving devastating to the wild turkey as they are opportunistic feeders, taking the eggs or young chicks of these birds. They are also becoming quite good at taking baby fawns and the pets of local residence. Not to mention the troubling rabies issue that can accompany wild animals.
We ran out on to the deck hollering at the uninvited visitor, scaring it away– for now. Needless to say that I now watch my cat, not letting her out without me following. Often I can hear the spine tingling sound of a pack of coyotes wailing off in the surrounding woods.
This all reminds me that what is good for some animals, providing cover and protection,– also provides the top tier food chain predators with the necessary element of stealthy surprise. I don’t much like that, but unfortunately that is nature’s way. It’s just that I will do my part helping those more helpless animals to stay “safe”–as long as they are in or near my yard.
A daunting task no doubt and not the most practical, but I feel I must do my part to help the ones who are struggling to survive in numbers, hang on a bit longer, as the drama of life and death unfolds in my backyard all within a beautiful overgrown pasture. Hidden secrets indeed.