Not Counting Rings

Front yard

Over twenty years ago we chose a location to raise our children, meaning we purchased a home. We chose an established neighborhood with towering trees. Dirt Man and I both grew up in the country so the thing we missed most (other than family) was land with trees. As soon as we drove into this neighborhood it felt like going home. We knew this was where we would live out our days in the city.

Backyard

Originally our yard contained sixteen trees. The largest was precariously close to the rear of the house and leaned directly over our children’s bedrooms. This made me quite uneasy whenever the wind picked up. Within a few years of moving in,it was hit by lightening so we had it removed along with two others in the back yard. A smaller tree in the front yard died a couple of years ago.

from my neighbor's now treeless yard

We are now left with twelve trees in our yard. I admit I don’t sleep well during hurricanes or terrible storms, but otherwise I adore the trees. I like sitting beneath them for shade. I like smelling the scent of pine. I enjoy watching the squirrels scurry up and down the trunks and shaking the limbs. I listen to the birds singing from their nests high in the branches. I can’t say I’ve ever climbed any of these trees, but my boys climbed them when they were young.

Those were some huge trees!

At one time, all the streets of the subdivision were lined with trees, predominately pines. Little by little, they’ve disappeared. I suppose due to the possibility of collateral damage, the homeowners have opted to have them removed. This saddens me beyond belief. The character of our neighborhood has changed. It is losing its woodsy appeal. If it continues, we’ll soon be like any other neighborhood in the city. I miss my little country in the middle of the city.

Check out the base of that tree!

Friday two of my neighbors had their trees cut down. The process continued throughout Saturday. Yes, they started up bright and early (8:00 am) on Saturday morning…so much for sleeping in! Though the shaking of the house from falling trees might be over, I guess I’ll still be hearing chain saws, trucks, and working men for a few more days.
I’m guessing these trees are well over sixty years old though I didn’t count the rings. I wanted to count them, but instead I took some pictures. For now I plan to continue to enjoy sitting in my yard surrounded by my tall pines. When the wind blows I’ll listen to the trees singing to my heart.

Living in the Gap

January 2, 2012 – Fluctuation of temperature

This morning I walked outside with my morning coffee. The cobblestone chilled the bottoms of my bare feet while the sun heated the tops. Both my coffee and the dog’s breath steamed into cool morning air. I sat down on the cool wood of the picnic table and soaked in the warmth of the sun’s rays. Both the cold and heat felt good against my skin and in my soul.

51 thoughts on “Not Counting Rings

  1. Trees are beautiful. I love their design and the way the branches grow in curves and stretches. It is sad when they have to be cut down. I visited Big Sur, California many years ago and fell in love with the Redwoods.

    I think your front porch and neighborhood sounds very, very nice.

    • Each tree is a work of art and life. I love to watch them sway in the wind and to hear them creak like opening doors, though that part is a bit unsettling when you’re in the middle of the wilderness.

  2. SuziCate, I agonize right along with you. Every downed tree discontinued a community. I really have a tough time with man’s attitude. Now trees are enemies that have to be downed? Good grief. I really hope the transformation of 2012 is for real and that these types of attitudes will be turned upside down.

    • Personally, the saddest sight I’ve encountered was going home about six months ago. The property adjacent to my parents has always been wooded…I arrived to find it clear cut…life as I’d always known it was gone. Now, I know the impact is much deeper than my personal involvement with it, but it was a deep personal loss.

      • That sight shocked and saddened me too. I can’t EVER remember that land being bare like that. At least if Daddy had done it he’d have reseeded. I’m sure whoever cut it is NOT going to go to that trouble. Deeply saddens me.

      • Peggy, I won’t name the person…all I have to say is a political figure and that should tell you. First they cut over the line onto the family property and I’m sure the environment is not of concern; financial gain is more likely it…wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not next subdivided or a housing division built.

    • I am one of the few who seem to love squirrels. Most consider them pesky since they steal the bird seed, but nature does involve survival of the fittest. The squirrels give me much more entertainment while I find the singing birds soothing.

      • a! You KNOW I love the squirrels. They are so funny. Most I know call them hairy rats. A lot of people I know could not care less about the squirrels.

        The other day I was getting ready to leave the house with my hubby and I went into the living room to grab something really quick and I glanced outside. There was a squirrel on the table looking at me. So I looked back at him. He moved closer to me. So I moved closer to him. He moved closer, leaned towards me, and put one of his little hands to his chest (they must KNOW that “gets” me). So I went and got the container of nuts, half expecting him to be gone by the time I got back to the window/door, but he had moved closer to the door. So I shook the container, they know what that means, so he moved closer. I really thought when I opened the door he would run. And yup, he did, but he ran to me and the open door! So I gave him some nuts. Then I had to explain to my husband why my “oh just one more second” turned into five minutes!

  3. It saddens me, too. My trees aren’t going anywhere. They shade my home and provide a home for animals. I can’t imagine a yard without squirrels and birds. Listening to and looking at the woodpeckers is amazing to me. Our trees make me nervous during storms, but I remember that they have been there longer than my home. I enjoy your trees, as well. Living in our beautiful neighborhood includes the trees with all their character.
    Thanks for the pictures and your beautiful writing.

  4. We’ve had the same thing happen in my suburban neighborhood, which has the word “Woods” after its name. Ironic, huh?

    It makes me incredibly sad. I can understand the fear during a bad storm. My neighbors had a tree fall on their home during the last hurricane. But I think you minimize the risks if you prune the trees properly.

    So, this neighborhood I picked for the trees now looks like a brand new development with no plantings. Blah. 😦

  5. The pictures are stunning! I get nervous during high winds too, but the shade, shelter and solace the trees provide make up for any fears I might have.

  6. ” I adore the trees. I like sitting beneath them for shade. I like smelling the scent of pine. I enjoy watching the squirrels scurry up and down the trunks and shaking the limbs. I listen to the birds singing from their nests high in the branches.”

    Meeeee too, Suzi! I adore trees! And I’m so grateful that Philadelphia has a lot of parks because I so enjoy sitting on one of the park benches, under a tree, and taking in all it’s beautiful energy. Trees are such wonderful healers!

    Gorgeous photos, Suzi!

    WOW!

    Have a great Monday, my tree-loving friend!

    X

  7. I think I must have been a druid in a previous lifetime – or at the very least a tree dryad. I also love trees. From my office window I can see all the trees of our back yard, and they inspire me every time in all their moods and seasons. My husband and I bought the empty lot next door which has a smallish knoll on it covered by beautiful trees. We mainly bought it to protect the trees from land developers, who are rife in our area.

    My condolences to you, Suzi, for the loss of your neighborhood trees. Trees are the breath and life of our planet. They need to be cherished and nurtured and allowed to grow. Every great event of my life has “coincidentally” (I think not!) had trees standing around in their patient way, lending, shade, life and history.

    • Oh, you have some lovely trees…I remember your pics and stories.
      I can think of almost anywhere of importance in my life and tell you about a tree of my past, just as important as the homes of childhood.

  8. Even though we don’t have any trees in our yard, per se (there were none when we bought the house) there are many surrounding our yard and across the street. I love watching the squirrels although we don’t seem to have too many of them around lately (I think they have moved on because of our cats).

  9. I love my life in the country and being surrounded by trees so I can relate to you. Thirty years ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest, my late husband and I planted over 75 Virginia Pines around our property. They are now enormous. Like you I love being surrounded by these trees. They are intermingled with maple, walnut, black cherry and gum. We also have two bamboo forests on our property. We are blessed indeed.

    And your post makes me appreciate it even more! Thank you!

  10. We have a giant old Oak tree in our front yard. I do get it pruned once a year, but it’s healthy and on a hot day, I swear it’s 10 degrees cooler under that big tree. We have 4 honey locust trees in the back year. I like them too. But the Oak is so sturdy and keeps it’s wonderful leaves year round. It provides home to so many critters it’s amazing. I had a neighbor suggest we have it removed and put in more lawn or something. I told her I thought that would be a desecration. I love my living trees.

  11. Trees are so important ~ for cooling the air, providing shade and shelter, and producing the very oxygen we breath.

    They paved paradise to put up a parking lot . . . 😦

  12. It has been very windy here the past few days and the cold, creaking trees make me look around carefully to see if my house is in any danger … I love my trees so much I tend to leave even the obviously dead trees alone as long as possible. Some have many holes and it is obvious that they are homes to many critters.
    I mourn with you the loss of your neighborhood trees. Those big old trees add so much value to your life and to the monetary value of the property … it is a shame that someone cut them down if they were healthy.

    • It is scary during high winds. Neighbors have had house damage and we’ve had car damage from tree limbs…however we aren’t ones to live our lives in fear and cut down the trees. I hope we’re able to continue to enjoy them for years…they’ll probably outlast us!

  13. There is something comforting about being surrounded by trees, you are right. I grew up in the city so never really had many but our last house had a beautiful (and jerkish during acorn season) Oak that covered the house and shady trees throughout the entire yard. Our new neighborhood is tree lined except for our house. It is so strange but instead of big, shady trees, we got palm trees around. We do borrow some shade from our neighbors but still, I miss the trees!

    Happy New Year, Suzicate!

  14. So sad to see all these tall trees removed! I used to live on a wooded lot, and there’s something comforting about being surrounded by so much of Mother Nature. Trees give us shade and remind us to keep looking up!

  15. It’s just awful that those huge trees were removed. They had obviously survived many years.

    In our area, they took out acres of orange groves to build houses and shopping centers…seeing the dirt lots was depressing!

  16. Here is Texas we have lost thousands of trees due to this past years drought. The dead trees are being removed for safety reasons. The landscae has changed. It will recover but it will take years. I love to listent to the wind in trees…it speaks to my soul!

  17. Those are ginormous trees! Unless they were diseased, it just seems wrong to cut them down. Our lot was heavily wooded but we thinned out the dead wood and ones that weren’t going to make it before we built. Even now, I hate it when Entrepreneur trims the trees!

  18. That’s enormous! I know what you mean about the anxiety over trees, kid rooms, and the wind. We have a few that will be vacating the premises this year. They make me so nervous.

  19. I hate it when trees have to come down. But I know what you mean about the fear of a tree falling on your kids’ bedrooms. We had a huge oak tree in the front yard at our old house. In big storms I used to worry about that.

    Now we are surrounded by a woods full of tall, but thinner trees. We had to remove a dead tree from the side-front a few weeks ago. It had a squirrel’s nest in it, so I felt bad about that.

    Your post makes me want to venture outside with my cup of hot tea instead of staying huddled in my house.

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