Pleasant it was, when woods were green,
And winds were soft and low,
To lie amid some sylvan scene.
Where, the long drooping boughs between,
Shadows dark and sunlight sheen
Alternate come and go;
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~
After reading A Leaf In Springtime’s post Glimpses of the Unhurried Life, I thought about my childhood memories and the geography of my early home. For her, returning to her childhood home brought memories of people, community, and a certain simple way of living. For me, it’s all about the landscape: the rolling hills and oak trees of Northern California. I spent countless hours roaming the hills as a little girl, exploring fields, marshes, and woodland. Some forays on foot, some on horseback but all under the watch of Quercus – the oak. When I recall my child and get reminiscent about simpler times, I picture myself surrounded by oaks, listening to the calls of the California Quail and Acorn Woodpecker, watching the Western Bluebirds flycatch, and seeing the dappled light on the grass under a some matriarchal tree.
As a bigger girl I traveled sometimes past the hills and trees to other cities. Always the trip home punctuated by the undulating road and the contrasting blue sky, golden hills, and green tree canopies. Eventually, I moved away to a conifer-dominated land. I find happiness here among the giant Douglas fir and mossy paths, no doubt.
Yet, when I return to my nascent home, the joy of seeing my old friends among the oaks brings a surprising peace to my heart and soul. I imagine a time when I return to the oaks for good. If I’m ever to be happy putting down roots, it will only be in the witness of some grand old oak trees; for oaks are now my touchstone for home.