I suspect that for many people Chappy is much about the water and its surrounding pleasures: boating, fishing, beaching and swimming. For others like myself, Chappy is about the land. I’ve become land-centric over the years, in part because I don’t own a boat, fishing rod or a bathing suit (that fits me). My time on Chappy is less plentiful than it once was so I find myself prioritizing endeavors that are earthly rather than waterly. I miss the ocean and my time on it. She was not a love that I gave up voluntarily but when one maintains a golf course, one discovers that grass and its cohorts wait for no one. Even brief pauses in attention can lead to rudimentary tasks becoming taxing and vexing. So, nose to the grindstone and one foot after the other.

I rather enjoy the grindstone. There is a comfortable familiarity that comes from intensely focused attention. The most familiar amongst these things for me are the bugs, plants and birds.

Birds are my most visible, audible and ubiquitous companions on any given day. The crows in the trees, swallows in low air, seagulls in mid-strata and raptors circling higher: all keep me company. Like a happily-married couple reading the paper on a Sunday morning, we don’t need to interact much to feel the comfort in each other’s presence. I like the early mornings and late nights when birds are more heard than seen: a screech owl couple conversing across miles in the dark and songbirds waking up the day with their sweet voices. When no else is talking, the birds have much to say.

Plants consume a great portion of thought. Who is doing well and who is not? They are often at odds with one another, fighting for space or resources. I try not to take sides but liberating plants from an oppressor is a rewarding chore. Pulling poison ivy off tree bark; yanking bittersweet, grapevines or puckerbrush from the branches of cedars and beach plum is arduous and fun. I like to watch plants begin to thrive once unencumbered by clutches of meandering vines.

I have to wonder if one plant has more of a claim than another to its spot on earth. Perhaps I should let the natural order unravel without intervention. But I hear the silent pleas of the slow-growing trees: won’t I please lend aid against the enemy that they will never outpace? So I usually do.

I also love discovering a new friend in and around the predominant flora. I recently purchased an app that allows me to identify any plant simply by taking a picture of it. I have now found that I have a less adverse reaction to weeds once I “know” them. They are fascinatingly diverse but predominantly opportunistic, holding real estate that other plants find less attractive. And doing it well.

Then there are the bugs. I won’t pretend to like them, but I also don’t abhor them. As of late, I have taken to not killing bugs. I feel that it’s not my right to extinguish a creature simply because it has the potential to irritate me. There is one category of bugs that I could completely do without: bugs that don’t look like they should fly but do. A bug scuttling under foot that suddenly becomes airborne can cause me considerable concern. Where did it go? Why can’t I see it? Why is it making that horrifying sound? Is it taking up residence in my ear? I can deal with a hundred sugar ants crowding around a wayward crumb than I can with one bumbling June bug clumsily colliding with my neck mid-flight. But you do you, June bug

I best relate to the ordered chaos of nature when it is taken as a whole. Lessons gleaned from an almost unconscious understanding of the symbiotic nature of nature have made me more able to withstand the unpredictable. If a beetle can survive its own tumultuous life day after day then I most certainly can learn to live without the guarantee that my life will ever be simple or easy. It just will be.