Green Quarantine

The red bricks and thick mortar continue to rise high, but the green will always tower higher. 

I have written about Trussville a long time, lived here even longer, and only recently, sans a historical book project in 2013, have I been able to take a step back into the past.

We moved to Trussville a year ago after nearly five years in Moody, and it has been a great decision. We found a home surrounded by deep shades of green and hardwoods that seem to touch the clouds. We love it here, property that I was starting to believe no longer existed in the cram-them-in neighborhood style of the 21st century. Somehow, we found it.

A favorite feeder of the cardinals. (photo by Gary Lloyd)

These words aren’t necessarily important, though some seemingly ancient simplicities of life will be evident. Due to the coronavirus, I’ve left the house only to take our young son to doctor appointments, fill up red gas cans, go to parents’ houses, and drive past the places we once entered without masks and latex gloves. It has been a trying time for the world. Like everyone else, we’ve tried to make the best of it. Going stir crazy is real, and so is the anxiety of having an infant during this mess. I won’t say that I’m completely glad we have been at home this much over the past couple months, but it has led to some definite positives — more time with our new son, significantly less fast food, afternoon walks up and down the driveway, and more time outside. 

That last point is the one this post will focus on. Again, there is no real story here, no beginning, middle, and end, only observations from a couple months of spending almost every waking moment at home. 

As long as I have read them, I have stumbled my way through the words of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, authors I enjoy but sometimes do not quite comprehend. Their transcendental ways of writing are both inspiring and befuddling. I have to read their works in short segments. I have done more of that lately, with Emerson’s Nature and Thoreau’s Journal. It has been enjoyable and applicable to life at home.

I have noticed the trees more, the way the magnolias bloom, the skyscraper-tall pine that a hawk has taken as its home, and the way when, there were violent storms about a month ago, a couple trees were blown down but missed our workshop and fence. That was lucky. 

I have noticed the smell of honeysuckle and privet. I have watched a dozen crows chase that hawk and learned just how loud a pileated woodpecker’s call is. I have noticed a blue jay that prefers a power pole line over a tree branch, and how squirrels can eat triple their weight in sunflower seeds. Thieves. 

I have seen tiny Carolina chickadees stand on branches just above my head as I refill the feeders with seeds. They stare down and dive-bomb the feeders as soon as I walk away. The chipmunks and one big rabbit find the fallen seeds, and a couple of mischievous raccoons steal the corn from the deer and turkeys in the woods behind our property. 

The cardinals are my favorite, despite my contempt for the baseball team of the same name. They are as red as fresh strawberries, and flash across our front and back yard like F-16s. They eat through bags of sunflower seeds quicker than the Atlanta Braves.

Work abounds here. The grass takes longer to cut and there is always somewhere new to weed-eat. It took weeks to slice up the fallen trees and rid of the carnage. Not long after we moved in, I bought work boots because the land necessitates them. I keep an outdoor to-do list in a Note on my phone, and for every project I complete, I add two more. It never ends. I don’t mind it, though. It allows more time to notice more things, and that’s good. I always wanted a place I could put some work into, especially outside. I love feeding and watching the birds, and checking my game camera to see how many deer showed up overnight.

When this coronavirus mess is under control, I am sure more storefronts will go up in Trussville and more trees will be mowed down to make room for restaurants. It’s the nature of progress, and I like the direction Trussville is headed. The city does a solid job of balancing natural areas with new construction. 

Just don’t bring that construction near my house. It’ll scare the birds away. 

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