Back when my workplace's landlord gave me access to the junk-filled plot of land that would become my garden, I had the idea that my co-workers and the people at the businesses in our little compound would enjoy hanging out there during lunch. This has been a miserable failure.
I'm the only one who uses the garden.
Well, me, and all the wildlife. I have a female hummingbird who regularly joins me for lunch, and who hangs out with me after work and watches me as I tend the garden. I'm convinced that this is one particular bird, because she has a stripe on her beak, and I don't think this is a typical marking. Besides, hummingbirds are notoriously shy and aggressive. They don't like sharing territory with anyone.
I feel completely honored to have the company of this tiny bird. She perches on her favorite twigs and we quietly keep an eye on each other.
I'm more ambivalent about the local mice. I stopped feeding the birds when I realized that the finches were tossing their thistle seed all over the place and attracting an alarming amount of mice. One on lunch break, I saw six little mousiekins, all gorging themselves on thistle. I don't want to be responsible for a mouse population explosion, because ultimately, it will end badly for the mice. I made enough of a fuss that all the mousetraps in my studio are live-traps, but most people prefer glue traps, which are about the cruelest thing I can think of. If the garden gets over run with mice, all the neighboring businesses will, too. And I'd be responsible for the death of these mice.
I do miss having goldfinches in my garden, and am conflicted about feeding the varmints.
The snails are another story. They are an invasive non-native pest. Just tonight, I threw over sixty of the slimy bastards over the garden fence. Sixty.
Much of my childhood was spent in solitary pursuits. If I wasn't reading, I was weaving huge nests for myself out of tree branches, or messing with the local streams. (I admittedly watched an appalling amount Gilligan's Island reruns, but nevermind that.) As a kid, I didn't seem to have the knack for making a lot of friends, but that was all right, because I was perfectly capable of amusing myself.
And sometimes, as I'm eating siting outside in my garden, eating lunch with only tiny wild creatures for company, I wonder how much has really changed.