Many of my early memories are of running through the woods with the kids in the neighborhood, stopping fast to throw rocks in the creek, or sometimes finding a turtle or salamander. The older kids told whoppers, warned us of quicksand, and dared us to cross the creek without getting our feet wet.

On this gorgeous March day, I finally got out to take a walk. I love to look at the trees as I walk and measure the new growth with my eyes. Every tree seemed to be yawning and stretching in the warm afternoon sun. I felt a resurgence of connection to the natural world. I’ve missed that for quite some time. I’ve been craving the out-of-doors.

My neighborhood is actually named Vienna Woods and is full of oaks, maples, sycamores, redbuds, dogwoods, and tulip poplars. The builders were perhaps kinder in 1959. They built along the natural creekbeds leaving bands of forest on either side. The streets wind and curve following the path of streams flowing to the Potomac River. I like to imagine the landscape without the buildings. The rise and fall of the land is so beautiful.

My neighborhood is also going through transition. Many houses are being knocked down and are being replaced with very large homes that I could never afford. It seems like another house goes down around me every day. On my walk, I noticed that the very large trees had been cut down on one property down the street. Those trees were huge and healthy. It will take half a century or more to grow a tree so fine. Will they plant another?

6 thoughts on “The Woods

  1. One sight I really hate to see are large trees being cut down. They seem so regal and wise. I’m sorry there’s so much change occurring in your neighborhood.

  2. Oh so sorry to hear – I love your writing about the trees but it is so hard to hear the cutting of trees for houses. We have some of that here in Minneapolis but a few are keeping trees but leaving no yard space. There is no green space around the house. I miss the gardens and green. Thanks for sharing

  3. I love how you weave your childhood memories in with the grief you’re feeling about the trees being cut down in your neighborhood. Seems like we are mourning more than just the trees.

    Thank you for this beautiful, descriptive, thoughtful post.

  4. The juxtaposition of the big trees going down and the big houses going up is striking.
    I especially love your Vienna Woods paragraph, where you name the trees, tell us about the creek beds and how the builders respected those natural formations and water-paths.

  5. I love the outdoors and look forward to my walks, too. Sorry to hear the trees went down just for building a home. I know someone that designed and built their home around a huge oak and after the house was built, the tree was hit by lightning and had to be removed. At least there are still plenty to enjoy on your walks.

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