Once Bob cleared the overgrown Back 40, we began to explore our acreage. The open meadow to the southeast and the tree lot on the northeast were new territory to us and were separated by a shallow hollow that housed the sycamore tree that walloped Bob (see previous Shack post!).
Barbed wire fence circled our property decorated by blackberry vine and wild roses on the south. Cows were grazed on all the neighboring properties and would watch us with that lanquid curious cow expression as we wandered along the fence lines.
At the top of the ridge was a shallow spring fed pond, not deep enough for even wading but perfect for a jolly clan of frogs. Our spring evenings would be filled with the high pitched calls of spring peepers. And summer nights we would hear the deeper full throated songs of the bullfrogs. I loved those serenades and would thrill to the first sound of peepers in the early spring.
This small pond was circled by a copse of black gum trees. This was my first introduction to this lovely tree and it became one of my favorites. It wasn’t until the next spring that I found them in bloom – their limbs decorated in clusters of small white bells. Such a magical sight! I would imagine that I could hear the sound of these chimes ringing down the ridge in the evening breeze.
Coming across the back fence to the northeast corner, we found large trees that had fallen, possibly in a long ago storm. These were large white oaks, now covered in moss with burrows hollowed out in the large trunks. This was the part of our property that was mostly in timber, white oaks, red oaks, black walnut, hickory and a sprinkling of sassafras and dogwood. These trees were beautiful at each season. The dogwood dressed in white spring blooms with the sculptural sassafras holding its bright green buds in early spring. The varied greens of the spring leaves from each of the trees, then the deep green shade of summer, to the brilliant tapestry of color in the fall. And even in winter, with the stark dark trees, their beauty of form stripped bare.
Bob created a meandering path through the woods that opened to what we called the wooded meadow, directly behind the house. This was the view from the kitchen window and where we watched our little family of deer feed each day.
I fell in love with this property. With each season and year, I learned when trees budded, where the secret springs would water the small ferns, where the sun would rise and set on our horizons as we moved through the year. I had an intimate and deep knowledge of this little piece of earth. The sounds and smells and sights of each season and time of day were part of my heart. It is a relationship that changed me. This was one of the great loves of my life. And I am a better, wiser woman because of it.
Until next time……