Saturday, July 23, 2011

Life Among the Trees

I live in a forest. It is similar to a rainforest with very tall trees that provide a canopy almost like a cocoon. The lush green of the leaves on our deciduous trees is always a welcome gift from nature in April after a long, cold winter. They have provided a shade over our driveway and house for 26 years. When we acquired our land to build our house, we only cut down the trees necessary for the house and driveway. It broke my heart to have to cut down a huge ash tree that grew where the driveway was planned. 

 In the heat of summer, our trees absorb the heat and give us a shaded relief from the hot rays of the sun. Our cocoon is usually five to ten degrees cooler than the temperatures on the street at the end of our driveway. We have learned to live with the ferns, lichen and algae that come with life among the trees. Algae grows on the brick siding, the deck, the roof and parts of the front walk and driveway. It's a small price to pay for living among trees. In the late summer, the wild cherry trees leave little purple berries on the front steps and we watch the wild birds feast on them. The red cardinals and the blue jays are a great contrast against the purple berries and green leaves.

  There is always dead wood in our forest if we want to gather the hardwoods for the fireplace. If we don't gather it, the forest degrades and absorbs it. Nature turns it into rich, dark soil/compost/mulch. In the fall, when all the leaves come down, we only blow away a small part of them, away from the house and back into the woods to be recycled over the winter.

We have dappled sunlight peeking through the canopy so our house has some dark rooms during the summer, but we have become used to it. If we want a lot of light, we can walk into the sunroom where there are skylights with plenty of sun. I like to take my tea and my book to read in the sunroom. I can watch the deer, squirrels, hummingbirds, hawks and a red fox from my south windows.  


Even on a still day, there seems to be constant motion among the leaves and near the tops of the trees, there is a gentle swaying. When there is a storm, the dizzying heights of our trees are a bit scary because they bend so far. I always hold my breath and hope for the best. Most of the time, life among our trees is very peaceful and quiet, but we have become very attuned to its subtle changes.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite books.


  1. What a beautiful place you live in! And I especially love the Cooper's Hawk picture among all the rest. The deer must love your flowers... :-)

  2. The wildlife we see is always awesome. Did you notice the little red fox face looking through the window in the fourth picture?

  3. Buying land, planning a home, building a house and having trees surrounding it sounds like heaven.

    You sound content and at peace in your home. I would be too. Nice pictures showing the deer and some of your flowers and yard.

  4. Sounds so wonderful and beautiful. I love woods and forests. I grew up in a very woodsy area. The yard of the city house is very shady with trees and the country house is surrounded by large trees also. Probably one of the reasons we liked it so much. I often wish though that we had kept looking til we found a place in a woodsy area and better yet with a live creek.