The old retaining wall was failing, and the ornamental terraces had long since fallen over, so I started from scratch. I put in geotextile to stabilize it, and have since been replanting the bare sand with (mostly) California natives, including a lot of edibles that the birds and critters are likelier to feast upon than any of the resident humans are.
Three years in, I've learned a lot in my efforts to rewild this urban turf. Giving this patch of land back to the life that was here before my ancestors arrived on the continent has not been easy. Invasive species creep in from all sides, erosion carries topsoil away, and there's still so much I don't know about the intricacies of plant communities in our microclimates...
But, the more I'm out there, the better I feel, and every day my ability to read the ecosystem deepens. And, particularly in this pandemic, putting my back into turning this land over to nature feels deeply good, like a sacrifice and a blessing both given and received.
This Earth Day, and every day, I wish you the joy of green, growing things and the living treasures they attract. There is hope in this exchange, and a wonderful, visceral connection to calm the monkey mind.
Gather your seeds, read the terrain, and let yourself be small in our big, beautiful world.
[Video: A female Anna's hummingbird sipping nectar from hummingbird sage.]