The Oaks of Home

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.


6 thoughts on “The Oaks of Home

  1. My dear Barb,
    What a beautiful way growing up and running free in the great landscape of Nothern California! How very full your young heart must have felt surrounded by such beauty. Such a different landscape and yet I felt you brought me close to a place in your heart and a time in your life precious to you. I love the trees and I can imagine how much pleasure and satisfaction it must give you to be back surrounded by your favourite oaks. Thank you for this heartwarming piece. I am glad I got to follow you home today. Hugs, Sharon

    • Sharon,
      you are so incredibly sweet. Thank you so much for saying all of that. It was in fact a wonderful time, so full of innocence and wonder. I’m glad you seem to understand the magnitude of importance that home has for me still.

  2. This was a really lovely post. I have always liked oak trees, even though they are exotics in the places I have lived. But they are so shady and cool in the summer, and the deep green of the foliage is quite special.
    An enjoyable trip down memory lane 🙂

    • Yes, while oak uplands are a habitat of concern in all of Oregon, or even the Willamette Valley, they are in the Portland Metro Area. So, if I need an oak fix, Champoeg is a great place to commune with oak habitat in the northern Willamette Valley. Graham Oaks Nature Park, and the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge are a couple of other nearby oaken spots.

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