Monday, October 1, 2012

The Trees and I, a love story

Part one

Still moving in auto sleepy mode, I went out to the back porch this morning to feed the dogs.   Yawn, yawn, mundane stuff.  A hammering noise from somewhere nearby caught my attention.  I looked up, expecting to see a woodpecker, but the view off our porch was so enchanting that I forgot to look for the bird.

If you’ve ever been to the Seattle area or seen pictures, you’ve probably seen views with the white ferries, blue water, and, across Puget Sound, a land of tree-covered hills.  We live in those hills.  And, if you’ve been in Seattle on a day when fog lies purring and cozy between the stoic pines, you may have wondered what it would be like to live over among those trees.

Well, let me enlighten you.

We don’t have a traditional view.  Actually, if you cut down all the trees on our land and our neighbor’s land, we would probably have an enviable view of Seattle.  Then the people of Seattle could watch us, and we could watch them.  Maybe we would use telescopes, and wave, like travelers on cruise ships waving to strangers on the dock.

I prefer our view.  This morning, the sky was blue, sun was shining (yes!  The sun does shine here!), and fog drifted slowly through our trees like a shy creature of the woods, too large and sleepy to see us as a threat, but emerging to feed.  Feed on what?  Oh, probably the romance and vitality of the forest.  These woods are thick with it.

When I was in college, living in Utah and enjoying the very different beauty there (though, I admit, I sometimes counted the scant trees growing on the hillside), I read “The Romance of the Forest” by Ann Radcliffe.  You know how it is when you read something and discover yourself in it?  If you’ve read that book, you are probably frightened that I found myself there; but I realized when I’m in a forest, it’s all romance and story for me.  Musicians carry tunes in their heads, writers have a story; and when I’m in the woods, those stories are as alive as the trees.

It is so green outside right now, it’s variegated, wall-to-wall and floor-to-sky green.  Moss, grass, ferns, and trees – fir, hemlock, and my favorite, cedars.  Patches of blue sky light up between them, but in summer even those patches are pushed out by leafy maple and alders.

When we moved into our home ten years ago, I saw the last remnants of fog one sunny morning, curling gently upward like smoke.  I thought maybe a drifter had made camp in our woods, and had started a small fire.  I’m silly (and a bit territorial), so I tiptoed out through the trees for a peek.  There was nothing there, no fire, no person; just the wispy smoke without flames, floating through the evergreens.

I have mentioned that the sun is shining today.  Please do not think that it is always sunny here, and that you would want to move here amid the trees.  It does rain something like 370 days a year, and we often don’t see even a hint of blue sky for weeks.  So, don’t get any ideas to leave Arizona or Minnesota or wherever you are.   When you’re standing in a puddle, and you start thinking about windshield wipers for your glasses, it’s a fine trick to enjoy the view.  I’ve had a lot of practice.  Besides, the green is always there, whispering romantic tales, even when it rains.

I did finally see the woodpecker, a large male with a red head.  He was laughing at me in my pajamas, hyuck-hyuck, hyuck-hyuck.  I have the best neighbors.

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