When moving day was still far off, I was excited. It seemed all I could see around here were the traumas I and my family had experienced over the years. I longed to never drive by that school again, or that hospital again. I could stop reliving the slights by this or that unfriendly neighbor, or the sights of once-wild places now paved over.
But as moving day nears, a very different aura has fallen over this property of mine, one that illuminates all the things I will miss. This post is about those things that are close to both my home and my heart.
Two hedges of Limelight Hydrangeas, that I planted myself, have finally created the arched walkway to my front door that I longed for. It is cool under there, a lovely spot for my stone bench, and I’ve sat there often while my animals, domestic and wild, came to sit with me.
Pine trees! I somehow have a grove of pine trees in my one acre plot. They were small beings when we first moved in here. The last owners apparently thought that the house would sell better if there were a privacy hedge between this house and the next one, which house turned out to be populated by extremely unfriendly, to the point of cruel, people. How I will not miss those neighbors! How I will miss brushing my hands over those pine needles! How many hours did I spend under their branches, looking up and soaking up their power and majesty? How handy were the fallen pine needles for freshening up the chicken coop and run? How many cups of tea have I made from those needles? I look out at them every morning while I have my coffee and peruse Hive. They have become my most stalwart of friends.
There’s the wisteria that I have spent 15 years trying to eradicate. Every year I would pull more of it down, digging it up by the roots, and thinking I’d done it in, only to see it climbing a tree 100 feet away the following spring. It’s making its way back across my deck again. I no longer have the heart to try to tame it. Why not let something that lives so robustly have its way with the house and yard?
It took me much less time to decide to live with the poison ivy that loves this place. It is beautiful stuff really, and knows its place. Of all the vines I’ve battled over the years, poison ivy has spread the least. It has stayed completely out of my flower beds. It knows how to share. I will miss my poison ivy!
I will not be here in October to see my favorite event of the entire year – Fothergilla in its fall glory. It’s impossible (for me) to capture in a photograph, but unforgettable if you have ever stood near one. Seek one out at the end of the fall color season - it’s one of the last shrubs to go to its full glory.
My cottage garden! This space has been well nourished by countless animals I have buried there. The soil is rich, amended over the years with compost and animal droppings, especially that of my now rehomed chickens, who all loved to rest under the dwarf red maple that I scored in a nursery in Brooklyn. Although it was lovingly tended for nearly 20 years, it went untended this year. I had to choose among a lot of tasks that needed doing this final year here, and learning how to grow vegetables seemed imperative, so that darling flowered space has been run over by mile-a-minute, porcelain berry, Virginia Creeper, and wild grapes. Rose of Sharon saplings are everywhere. Since this garden is in such disarray, I know the next owner will have little choice but to mow it all down and start again. What will happen to all the critters that have made their homes there? The goldfinches and hummingbirds, the squirrels and chipmunks, the rabbits and opossums? I can’t bear to think of what will happen to them all.
Maybe I will write more about the human relationships that I will lose when I leave here, some of those forever. But for today, this little essay has left me quite bereft. And I have packing to do!!!
Thank you for joining me here today. You Hiveans make up a large part of my community, a community I can take with me.
All images are mine.