Nature Girl : A Lorax at Heart

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve felt like I’ve been just standing at a crossroads, staring into the distance, trying to figure out which way to go. It’s time for a new chapter in my life, that much I know. What that chapter should be about, I definitely don’t know. Perhaps that’s what this blog has become…me working things out, trying to decide what I actually want to do or be.

I know I’ve been thinking too much about it, trying to force an answer to my question of “What am I supposed to do with my life?” I try to keep the faith and trust that things are actually going according to plan – even when it feels like nothing is going right. But I still feel pretty lost and unsure. Maybe the problem is that I’m asking the wrong question…maybe what I should be asking is, “What do I even want to do with my life?”

With that question in mind, I started thinking about the things I enjoy most in my life..the activities and hobbies with no restrictions or requirements or responsibilities attached to them. I’ve already written about my fondness for crochet. I’ve mentioned my enthusiasm for photography. But I’ve yet to write about my obsession with puzzles or my passion for rocks or my infatuation with nature. So, let’s go with that last one for this post!

Where I live right now, and for the last 14 years, is my own private paradise…my Terabithia. When my husband and I started house shopping all those years ago, we never expected to find such a perfect piece of property for our family. The house was pretty old, but more than big enough for two adults, four kids and one dog. But it was the property itself that enchanted me.

At one time, most of the land was used for raising livestock…you can still see remnants of some handmade fences meant to keep the cows in. Now, it’s a wonderland of native trees, plants and animals. We often see deer, turkeys, pheasants, owls, hawks, skunks, opossums, raccoons, groundhogs, foxes, massive turtles and countless rabbits and squirrels roaming about. We even saw a river otter once in the creek that borders our property!

Two years after we moved in, with the help of our kids, we planted about 75 trees in the area we call “the back pasture.” White Pine, Dogwood, Pin Oak, Burr Oak, Ash and Maples. We’ve only lost a handful over the years…mostly to mowing shortly after we planted…but so many more have grown in their place. Who knew a walnut could fall to the ground and grow into a giant tree so fast?! (For that matter, who knew how impossible it would be to control the dreaded Water Locust?)

I absolutely love the property and spend as much time as I can outdoors basking in its splendor. It’s no surprise really that I would end up living in a place surrounded by nature. When I was a kid, our yard abutted a big, abandoned nursery (the plant kind, not the baby kind). Across the street from the nursery was a huge wooded hillside that sloped down to the river. This is where I spent my childhood playing…among those trees (and in that river and along the railroad tracks…stories for another time).

When I was in high school, I got a job at the local greenhouse/flower shop. I wasn’t “qualified” to create floral arrangements, which didn’t bother me in the least because I got to tend the green plants instead. Being in that greenhouse watering, transplanting and taking care of so many different plants was the first zen experience I’d had. And it stuck with me, big time.

No matter where I lived over the next decade, I always had lots of green plants around. I also turned closets, corners and shelves into makeshift greenhouses, so I could plant any seeds I found and watch them grow. (Sadly, lemon and orange trees don’t really grow well in an apartment!). My husband gave me a small, mobile greenhouse last year which I used to sprout maple saplings from seeds I found on the ground! This year, I plan to start all my garden vegetables from seeds in that greenhouse.

Nature is very important to my quality of life. This fact hit me right in the heart yesterday as we were driving around the neighborhood. A large tract of beautiful wooded property that had been on the market for a long time had finally been sold…and gutted. So many huge, old trees were laying on the ground in piles, cut on both ends, waiting to be carted off. I immediately started crying, unable to explain the devastation I felt. A few hours later, that grief turned to rage when I found out that the friends we had let hang out on our land had cut down a tree because it was “funny” to them.

I was ready to do serious battle with those thoughtless individuals and banish them from my kingdom forever! Then I realized what an opportunity I had in my hands. Rather than banish them, I intend to invite them back to my little wonderland so that they can each plant a tree in honor of the one they destroyed. Hopefully they’ll accept my invitation and will walk away from the experience with more respect for nature (and for other people’s property!).

Talking about this aspect of my personality didn’t bring about any startling revelations regarding my destiny. However, it did make me feel less silly for literally hugging and talking to the trees when I walk among them and much more like The Lorax that I have always been! 🌱🌳☀️️💙

giphy

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” — Dr. Seuss

 

 

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