I love the big, old trees on our property.
Arriving from upstate New York, they were the first impression of our new southern home. Where, from a canopy above, birdsong greeted the weary travelers and broad branches sheltered an old brick house safely beneath.
A large hickory stands guard in the back, reminding us with intermittent showers of nuts upon the tin roof, that he’s still standing strong.
In the front, a large hollow Sycamore and 2 Sugar Maples line the drive.
We are well surrounded by their interlacing, graceful branches.
Safely at home, on the top of our little hill.
In early spring, we tap the Sugar Maples—the first step in a month-long process that yields the sweet amber syrup I remember from my grandfather’s farm in Vermont. Only several quarts, from just 3 trees scattered across the yard. But, a sweetness like no other, that tastes of strength and purity—and home.
The largest of the three, Mother Maple, reaches out toward our porch.
Her twisted trunk bears the scars of large fallen limbs. And the many slender branches grown in their place are crooked, giving her a lop-sided profile.
She is the character of an old, proud tree.
Gnarled, and with bark covered by lichens.
Greeting visitors to the hill, in her place by the front walk.
Last year, a family of Summer Tanagers and this spring, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.
On narrow leafy branches, with a gentle slope--such a welcome place to make a home.
I wonder if she will be with us much longer.
Or if there will be a gap in this landscape.
The hot, dry summer is hard on a more northern girl.
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