I love living on the edge...of the woods, that is. Here in East Texas, there are lots of woods, so finding a home with an adjacent wooded area is not hard to do, even if you live in town, as we do. This part of Texas isn't called the Piney Woods for nothing!
My husband and I moved to Marshall almost seven years ago from Indiana. We had lived in Texas before - College Station was our hometown for a couple years back in the mid-90's. So, moving to Texas was not a complete change of climate for us, and I'll take our long, hot summers here any day over the long, cold, lake-effect snow laden winters of northern Indiana.
As anyone knows who has moved to a new part of the country, finding something familiar in the real estate world, is like the comfort food we eat under stress - for us, it was a home on a cul-de-sac, and woods beyond our backyard. We both felt an immediate connection and peace when we stepped out the back door and faced the glorious snarl of trees and brush that met our grassy lawn - and to add to our nature-loving joy was the small stream that ran along the back of our modest lot, connecting our parcel of human habitation with that of the wilds beyond.
In our years of living here, our interaction with the native birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects has been one of wonder and awe, mild annoyance and rollicking humor, peaceful joy and caring compassion, exciting discovery and, very seldom, heart-wrenching sadness. I am shamelessly and hopelessly a naturalist by heart, and with certification and additional training, a forever student of the natural world. I see firsthand the importance of habitat protection and restoration, and how important native animal and plant species are to the balance of the natural world - which is our world.
Take, for example, those pesky mosquitoes that can transfer serious diseases when the females suck our blood. They, too, have a place in our world, for we know that the birds, the bats, the dragonflies, the frogs, the fish, and other backyard friends eat these pests for food, and at the same time keep the population down to a manageable level, and one that allows us to enjoy evenings in our backyards without constantly swatting our arms and legs, or using bug spray to achieve peaceful coexistence.
Just stepping out that back door, pulling up a chair and sitting peacefully, watching and listening to all the noises of nature, is a form of relaxation that brings me down to earth. Humor is everywhere - from the hummingbird drag racers buzzing past my head, to the juvenile squirrels chasing each other round and round a tree trunk, to the male mockingbird perched on our chimney top performing a song sequence reminiscent of a lengthy Beethoven symphony.
So check back in for my stories and adventures of living on the edge..surprises and humor abound in an east Texas backyard when the piney woods are your neighbor.