Recently I bought an elderly fishing cabin in a woodland setting. The sole ‘major’ appliance is a tiny refrigerator. A toaster oven and an outdoor table-top grill serve as the kitchen. Drying my hair while the lights are on pops the circuit. While I did purchase it from human beings it appears that several spider families have been squatting here for quite a while. We’re still having words about who owns the place.

I’ve been told I’m ‘Glamping’ aka Glam Camping.

The first time I laid eyes on this place I fell for it. Loads of old growth rhododendron, more climbing rose bushes than I can count and Evergreens as tall as Jack’s beanstalk. There’s even a pond the birds are fond of. Speaking of birds, three hummingbird feeders are nearly emptied every three days. It’s peace of mind for this City Mouse who likes playing Country Mouse when the country calls.

Like most people who do something ridiculous (such as buy a property they don’t know how to fix, chock full of foliage they have no idea how to tame) my learning curve is steep. Luckily I have the internet. Pruning bushes and trees? Discouraging pond algae? Learning what deer won’t eat in your yard? You quickly realize you need ladders of all sizes and that deer will destroy everything in their path.

One thing I wasn’t expecting was the proliferation of wild rabbits that come to graze at dusk and dawn. Happily I’m awake at both those times of day so I get my fill of rabbit watching. Last weekend my partner, Jim, and I took our usual early morning walk and came across a baby bunny who’d had an unfortunate tangle with a predator. Both of us were saddened but understand this is what life in the country is all about. Survival of the fittest, etc.

But still. A baby bunny I could’ve held in the palm of my hand? Sad face.

Later that afternoon we learned a nearby strip of property is mine to maintain. It looked like 30 minutes worth of mowing. It also looked about three feet tall. Had we known this was mine it would’ve been handled weeks ago. Now we had tall grass to tangle with.

We stared at each other with trepidation, both of us thinking the same thing: Bunnies like tall grass. After a brief conversation it was determined that we’d scout a path prior to mowing to insure any baby bunnies and rabbits were well clear from the mower.

Because of course, rabbits can’t survive without our help.

I was the scout. I crawled through the grass slowly, pushing it aside, and after a few feet giving the all- clear to Jim. He’d mow a few feet, then we’d repeat the process. It took nearly two hours. Several neighbors drove by with huge smiles and waves. After the third neighbor went by I wondered if they were laughing at us.

“Do we look like idiots?” I asked Jim.

“No.” he said. ‘We look like Citiots. Without the cars”.

While I love the birds and bunnies and big old growth trees I don’t like being a Citiot. I look forward to letting go of the notion I control any aspect of this natural world. To grasping that my role is to help it thrive. To admitting that no, the animals really don’t need a city girl to look out for their best interests. And ultimately, to savor the sweetness that a relationship with nature offers the city- worn soul.

Alicia Diefenbach

My name is Alicia Diefenbach and I’m a Community Relations Specialist at Verity Credit Union.  I absolutely love my role at Verity!  I have the opportunity to explore the communities in which we’re located, reach out to organizations and individuals making these places dynamic, inviting places to live, and get involved with activities that support their well-being.

In my spare time I dote on my vegetable garden.  It still never ceases to amaze me that I can create my dinner out of dirt, some seeds, and cooperative weather.   I love my dog, Frank.  Also, I go to rock shows.  A whole lotta rock shows.

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