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  • Writer's pictureJean Linville

Wabi Sabi Yard & A Diamond in the Rough

Welcome to what I like to refer to as our Wabi-Sabi yard. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese philosophy that embraces the beauty that can be found in imperfection.

“Wabi” is often defined as “rustic simplicity” or “understated elegance” and

“Sabi” is translated to mean “taking pleasure in the imperfect.” That certainly sounds like our yard, particularly the "grass" areas. As you can see from the image to the left, unlike many of the chemically treated, fertilized, seeded, weeded and perfectly manicured monoculture lawns of many homeowners in our town, ours is pretty much left to evolve on its own. Due to this approach, our yard is comprised of patches of dirt and grass and the grass must compete with wild strawberries, clover and whatever else blows in on the wind. But it is due to all of this imperfection that much beauty and magic can be found, in our little lawn especially in June.

This year was no exception as on June 2nd, I arrived home to find something sparkling in our lawn. Closer inspection revealed that the sparkle was coming from a musk turtle, whose shell was still wet, that had tucked herself down in the grass to lay her eggs. What a diamond in the rough! These turtles are highly aquatic and live in streams, rivers and shallow, slow-moving waterways with muddy bottoms, like the lake that we live on and they rarely leave the water.

Their journey up our steep bank is difficult and their visit is short-lived and for the sole purpose of laying eggs. The image to the left what the ground looks like once the turtle is done laying her eggs. Notice how the soil has been neatly and smoothly packed back into place. It is thrilling to have visitors such as these to our yard and I am comforted in knowing that our Wabi-Sabi approach to lawn care is providing them with a safe and chemically-free nesting area. With some luck by the light of the next full moon, we might catch a glimpse of some baby musk turtles emerging from the ground and heading for the lake. But for now I intend to sit back and enjoy eating wild strawberries under the Strawberry full moon later this week!

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