“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


A View from the couch, before breakfast

That catawba tree I talked about yesterday.

Shamelessly baring itself right out there in public.
Totally nude at the top,
these few last leaves at the bottom are all that remain.

I have taken a trillion pictures of this tree and I am never happy with any of them because I think you have to be the tree to make it work and I haven't evolved to that level yet. I stand under it when it's summer or fall or winter or spring, when it's frothy with white blossoms, when it's naked or near naked, when it's wet, when it's dry - I shoot from the north side, from the south side, from the down side looking up, and this tree just defies me every time. It plays with me. It's an old tree and holds stories and secrets and tempts me daily to capture its mood, then laughs when I cannot. I think of it as Mary's tree, but it is not, it belongs to the house on the corner, and it is a tree made for climbing, though I've never done so. It overlooks the creek that runs next to Mary's house, and if I were a child, I would not be able to resist.

This morning I have a cat in my lap and I am leaning over her to reach this keyboard, and what I think of as the catawba tree's right arm is visible from this angle, this awkward position. The end of that arm, that limb, is shaped like an upside down v, stretched out quite a bit, and it perfectly matches the roof line of the part of Mary's house that is directly behind it. When I scooch to the right here on the couch, I can visually line them up so that the house appears to be just an extension of the tree. The ginkgo tree in her yard is full of leaves gone pale green, the edges of the tree close to gold, the complete transformation a couple of days away, and it sits behind the end of that limb, its leaves a fluff of foliage - in my eyes they merge, and the catawba ties the neighborhood together a bit more tightly. The sun is out, lighting the top of the ginkgo and the trees behind the catawba, and has just moved to light up the hackberry tree in our front yard. The view is still green, but that paler green I mentioned, a green going to gold, and there are a few orange leaves now glowing high in the treetops behind Mary's house. Around the corner, up a couple of blocks, still there yesterday morning, are jack-o-lanterns hanging high in trees, mimicking the change of color of the leaves: when I pass them I wonder how on earth someone managed that feat of aerobatics, and I wish they lived here on my street, maybe next door - I think they would fit in.
welcome november


  1. this is a really intense photo....i really feel joy when you speak of trees and i have them in my view also...

  2. Strangely enough, there is a kitty sitting on my chest that I must reach around to type this.
    I love trees, all kinds. There is just something so powerful and magical about them, and they are so beautiful in every season. Thank you for sharing the stories you see in this beautiful tree.

  3. JUst stumbled across your blog...love:)

  4. I love the way that a cat absolutely needs to be in the middle of whatever it is we are doing. I love how the tree is Mary's, even when it's not. I love people who place pumpkins in trees for the sheer unexpected delight of it. I love autumn. And I love this place.

  5. I love your relationship with this tree, such flirtatious fun!



  6. Beautiful words...so descriptive and fat with imagery.

    I don't know what the other pictures looked like, but I think you've captured the tree this time.

    Well done!

  7. oh my gosh ... that photo, pure magic!! beautiful :-) xo

  8. Well, you may be frustrated with the photographing of this tree, but the way you describe it is so fantastic....shamelessly baring itself right out there in public. How great is that!

    You have the most interesting trees and plants and flowers and things over on your neighborhood. Things I have never seen before...but wish to.



come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .