My son said he’s spent today feeling reflective and wanted to revisit some of the places he knew as a child, including the home he and his sister were raised in by us. Compared to the last two days, which were fun and active, today was quieter and more reflective for both of us. It was also very healing and put a lot of perspective onto things.
So we took the 20 minute drive to where he grew up, parked the car and just walked around looking (without trying to look too suspicious!) Our old house has fallen into disrepair (I don’t know if anyone lives there) but back in 1993, just after we purchased the house, we planted some trees.
We had this nutty idea of importing 30 tiny Canadian redwood seedlings from a company in British Columbia, Canada. I remember we had to wait a while for them even after they shipped, because first they had to pass some kind of inspection in Florida to make sure they were free of aphids and other microbes that they might have been carrying from outside the US. I remember when we finally got the seedlings, I had to keep them in a tub for a few days to moisten and soften their roots before planting them.
Redwoods are not indigenous to North Carolina, but we did some researchh and found out the moderate humid climate here is actually conducive to their growth, which is why we took a chance on them. Over the years most of the seedlings died, and when the house was finally sold (well, actually foreclosed on) in 2003, the next owners chopped most of the surviving redwoods (about 5 or 6 left) down. I remember being so enraged by that. At the time the doomed young redwoods were about 8-10 feet tall.
But there is one last survivor, a beautiful, majestic redwood that is now 30-40 feet tall and looks very much at home among the small grove of other large trees that were either non-existent or very small when we bought the house in 1993. Here is that redwood as it is today. It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that twenty-three years ago it sat in my tub upon arrival encased in a root ball with a plastic bag tied around it.
Closeup of the bark–beautiful, red and burled.
I got photos of the rest of the trees (the ones I was able to–I didn’t want to be caught trespassing), all so much bigger than they were in 1993 or even ten years ago. Here’s a cherry tree that was very tiny, barely more than a sapling, but is now a huge shady tree big and sturdy enough to support a tire swing. When my kids were little, the tree was too small to climb, but they used to pick caterpillars from its bark and collect them in a bucket (to be released outside later, as per my instructions.)
View of the property as it is today. It was quite bare and almost treeless when we moved in. You can see part of the house on the right. The pink magnolia directly to the left of the house I planted there as a tiny seedling in 1996.
Here is a closeup of the magnolia:
One of the many pine trees showing off its huge sturdy trunk:
The tree pictured below was the only one that was already big when we purchased the property in 1993, but it’s at least twice the size now and wide enough at the bottom to make a perfect fort for kids to play under. Hell, I used to go sit under that tree to escape from my then husband! Sometimes I even read books under there.
2 views of the remains of our old outbuilding. The roof has collapsed. My son and I are both attracted to the eerie beauty of abandoned buildings. Seeing the shed we used to store our gardening equipment and other things in was a little bittersweet. I didn’t dare go inside.
A nearby “bamboo forest” growing behind the elementary school my kids attended. It wasn’t there then. Bamboo may be an invasive weed in this country because of its lack of natural enemies to keep its growth in check, but I find it beautiful. I find the same to be true of Kudzu, which also grows here.
Finally, a view of our old neighborhood from the top of a nearby hill:
My son is flying back to Florida in the wee hours this morning. I’m going to miss him, but I feel so happy we had such an amazing time together.
Tomorrow I’ll be able to return to blogging as usual. I’ve been so busy the past few days that keeping up has been difficult. I didn’t even have time to post a Monday Melody, but I promise there will be a new one this coming Monday.