Ten years ago when we took the financial plunge and landscaped our barren yard, we probably didn’t realize we’d be creating a wildlife habitat. I’m sure we just wanted our property to look good, to offer a little privacy and, yeah, give us a little nature.

As I sit looking out over our backyard in its fine white confectioner’s coating, I see a bright red Cardinal sitting on a feeder off our patio. A little further out, a dozen chickadees are hopping from another bird feeder into the branches of a 25’ evergreen. My mind wonders to the squirrel that has evidently decided to call our yard home. He (or she…we really don’t know), has been with us for about a month or so, living in another group of evergreens across the yard. He comes to look in our patio door, plots bird feeder take over and generally torments Luna, our 65 pound one-year old golden retriever – all highly entertaining for our family.

There’s always something going on out there in the yard. We even had a big fat green frog come to live at our little koi pond where it isn’t uncommon to find a duck or two floating in the summer. Duck eggs are another common find. A goose egg popped up this past fall.

When I look beyond our fence line around to our neighbor’s yards, I see a mostly white field, fences of wood, metal and vinyl and a few barren trees breaking up the monotony of this suburban land. With so much nothingness, it’s hardly a wonder that wildlife comes here.

I’m not judging my neighbors. At least I’m trying to not judge them. I realize it can be expensive and time-consuming to put in trees and bushes. I’m acutely aware of how fortunate we are as I sit here eating my breakfast of Smoking Goose sausage, local fresh eggs and gluten-free millet-chia toast with grass-fed butter. Perhaps I live a privileged life. Maybe if I lived in an even more affluent neighborhood like most of my peers, I’d notice something entirely different. Hard to say.

What all this noticing has brought me to realize – again – is that what we do today has an effect on others now, tomorrow and for many tomorrows after. While this abundance of nature right outside our door may not have been the aim of our landscape plans a decade ago, we’ve certainly benefited and so have our suburban furred and feathered friends. Maybe our neighbors benefit too. I wonder what other decisions I’ve made in the past decade that are affecting others. I certainly hope I’ve left mostly good in my wake. All good would be, well, wow…there’s a dream.