|Childhood house and woods.|
But I did enjoy the privacy afforded by the wood. It was a haven for birds. A very large short-leaf pine stood just behind our back fence, framing our yard; if you knew where to look, you could see that pine from the front yard high above the roof of the house. Those trees gave the impression we actually lived IN the woods.
I always worried about a developer buying out that property and shoving an ugly subdivision--complete with noisy kids and backyard stereos--up against our older early 1950s neighborhood. This didn't happen while I lived there or even while my parents lived there. But, there's a subdivision sitting in what used to be the sacred forest. I've seen it with Google maps, including their street view which shows me every house and road--and I'm happy that I no longer live there and that I missed whoever cut down the large short-leaf pine.
As I focus on short fiction this year, I can play with alternative realities. I've placed another family in our old brick house. A young girl loves the sound of the Chuck-will's-widow in the woods and her grandmother pine tree. She gets word that the property might be sold and, as I did, worries about the fate of the birds, trees, blackberry bushes and other wonders of the wood.
I'll stipulate that she has an author behind her story who's willing to add touches of fantasy to give her a hand in figuring out how she might save the woods. Who knows whether this short story will ever see print. But it felt good writing it.
With my quantum view of reality, I believe that everything that can happen does happen. So, in some nearby universe, my favorite tree is still standing and my woods remains healthy and inviting for seventh graders, Chuck-will's-widows, bunnies and squirrels, and the other magical creatures of the Florida Panhandle.