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There were so many things I could have done today. The closet door needs to be fixed, both of the cat trees need to be re-wrapped with rope for scratching, I certainly could have vacuumed and/or mopped, dust can always be found somewhere if you peer closely enough, and weeds can always be found in some nook or crevice. Laundry can always be done, pictures can always be drawn, and cats can always be petted: there is no end to the things that one needs to constantly accomplish.

And yet, doesn’t one need time to dream?

When the milkweed fills in and blooms, I’ll be spending my free time here: My butterfly garden is next to the patio, so the butterflies get up close and personal when the nectar plants start to bloom. As host plants I have three types of milkweed, also dill, parsley, clover, asters, and joe pye weed. For nectar and visual pleasure I have Buddleia, verbena, Marguerite daisies, Scabiosa, Casablanca lilies, and columbines. The pink garden extends the habitat with coneflowers, more asters, Filipendula, a giant Eupatorium, and a plum tree.

I’m sure there are other wonderful native plants I’ve forgotten to mention – oh, like the elderberry and Aronia! How could I forget! They both provide shrubby cover and produce berries for the birds.

The milkweed is coming in like gangbusters this year compared to the past. Here’s the most finicky one, Asclepias incarnata: You have to understand, this time last year I could barely see a few tiny stalks peeking above the mulch. These are luscious clumps for May! The flowers on this plant are like monarch heroin. When it’s blooming there’s always monarchs hanging around, and I have seen up to five in the yard at once. Every bug in the city seems to gather round. It’s like a bug rave by midsummer.

Five monarchs seem like nothing compared to thousands at their migration site in Mexico, or even twenty or more at some of the other Monarch Waystations, but the delight comes in the immediacy of stepping out my own back door into a functioning habitat. It’s not an island paradise, but it is a sort of oasis, an island of live green space in which to float and dream of a world filled with beauty.

Time to dream should not be a precious commodity only enjoyed while on vacation. Dream space is an essential nutrient, and should be part of everyday life, so the mind, like a butterfly, can sip some nectar from every different flower.

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