Meadows

With a nod to Joe Walsh, I wanted to talk about meadows. Our meadows to be specific.

The house is located smack dab in the middle of 6.5 acres, which in turn are located smack dab in the middle of a 32,000 acre national park. Most of the land we’re borrowing from mother nature is a form of wetlands. The house is built upon the high point which towers a whopping foot or two above the surrounding terrain. Two preservation areas, with towering maples, oaks and cherries act as book ends for our home. And ringing everything, each with its own personality, are four  little meadows.

South

Most of the windows in the house face the south meadow. They soak up the sun in the winter time and are shaded in the summer. Beyond the cut lawn where the kids play is a strip of paradise teaming with deer, rabbits and birds. There are clear site lines across hedgerows and saplings sprouting up playfully. Step on the nature trail we’ve created and head through the woods, past the river birches, crab apples and ash….

The south meadow looking back towards the house from the nature trail.

The south meadow looking back towards the house from the nature trail.

West

After walking through the woods you emerge into tall grass surrounded by towering old growth trees. The west meadow, isn’t really a meadow at all. It’s actually the septic field. I should probably mow it every year. Since we’ve been here it has grown up into a beautiful staging area for deer. A careful eye can even spot a blackberry bush here and there along its perimeter before continuing on the nature trail…

The west meadow. The large tree on the left died as a result of creating the septic field unfortunately.

The west meadow. The large tree on the left died as a result of creating the septic field unfortunately.

North

Along a clearing made by heavy equipment you emerge past a natural hedge row and are emerged into the largest meadow, the north meadow. This is where all the action happens. The path winds past bee hives carved into a small clearing. Closer to the house you arrive a vegetable garden, overgrown from an unattended summer. And then eventually an apple orchard buttresses the east preservation area. Some evenings I just stand in the orchard and listen to the world. Catching angles of shadow and light. The motions of nature out of the corner of my eye. To its north a hidden wet weather creek channels water to feed a nearby, off of our property, pond. For likely a hundred yards there is nothing but a sea of goldenrod and white butterflies dancing on warm summer breezes…

north-meadow

East

The most beautiful and natural meadow is the east meadow. One small path leads to a vantage point by our “pond”, which is really just a frog laden depression in the earth that holds water nine months a year. But the real vantage point is from the driveway, especially as the sun sets. The rays filtering through six acres of leaves and branches, painting the most wonderful scene imaginable. When we first saw the property we could tell that someone had been using the east meadow as a through way, marked by twin tire marks through the grass. Now the only nod to humanity is an active bird house I planted on its edge well before we ever broke ground. The grass turns to a sea of water during heavy downpours and afterward becomes alive with creatures great and small. There is one week in spring when the entire meadow is covered in small yellow flowers. It looks almost staged.

And that is why we love this place, or certainly why I love it. Every week of life is a roller coaster of ups and downs. Most days it’s like life is sitting on my chest and won’t let me catch my breath. Being able walk out amongst the meadows is calming – it makes me feel alive again. Any thing is possible. A compass.

I’m sure there are greater vistas and smaller: forests, deserts, seas, and meadows. And I’m sure those with access to them find equal solitude, hope and inspiration in them.

When life gets you down, find your “meadow” and spend some time there.

Just maybe get a bench.

I really need to get something to sit on and stay a while.

The east meadow as seen from the driveway.

The east meadow as seen from the driveway.

 

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9 thoughts on “Meadows

  1. I love meadows.. and even the word. Though I have no time and little energy at this moment to hit view orignial though I desperately want to because I love your view of the world.. I’ve got to sleep and make it to work tomorrow. I just wanted to say thanks even for the word, that brings me to such old childhood thoughts. I might sound nuts but if you knew the truth of what is going on in my life, welll.. you made a diff with just the word and pic. Glad you found some time. Always a fan.

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  2. Good morning Chris. I had to take a moment, with all that also weighs heavy on my chest and breathe in your meadows. I first must say that “Rocky Mountain Way” is one of the all time favs… not sure which song you were referring to but I so love the synthesizer?? solo.. lol. My life as well, the rollercoaster… as my mom’s kidneys shut down after starting chemo.. don’t worry I think the dialysis she underwent will take.. but either way I’m at peace despite the “rocky” ups and downs I and all of us have with our parents. But I paused again to comment.. as my blog, this world, is my “me” time, to thank you for sharing this world with us, and how much we need it. I really wish my father could meet you, and see your blog and walk in your meadows… but he stays faithfully at my mom’s side. Have a great day, and stay strong and know you aren’t alone. Take your “me” time, because parenting, marriage, all of it is quite burdeningly heavy at times and can overwhelm. But I know without even knowing you, that the seeds you have sewn will grow into a magnificent redwood forest one day, as mine did. Just keep watering and nurturing the soil.

    Also, can you plant raspberry bushes? I noticed the not to the blackberries, and raspberry bushes were always so fun. It was always a special treat as a little girl if I found one somewhere. They are in the woods around my home and if I get there before the wildlife and asians that collect the goodness hidden in my city, I still get to be that little girl and enjoy God’s fruits.

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    • We planted both black berries and raspberries and neither have done very well. That being said, I didn’t tend to them very well. Also last winter devastated a lot of fruit plants and trees in Ohio. I hope in the future to replant many of these types of bushes. We do have wild blackberries that do very well.

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