I have many treasures. I am a “Keeper of Unusual Things”. I like to think of myself as a packrat, who looks more like a possum. I happen to think possums are incredibly cute, with their little vampire faces and rat-like bodies and tails. I know, this is contrary to public opinion- but I have never put much stock in the opinion of the rotten old public. The public probably wouldn’t like me keeping mice as childhood pets and teaching them to ride around on rollers skates, or walking my cats on leashes. I have always been kind of oddly oriented towards the underdogs of the animal world, when I was about 9 my favorite hangout was an anthill. For fun, I would put the poor dears in glass jars and freeze them, then thaw them out under Dad’s heat lamp, thereby ressurecting them. Needless to say I didn’t have many human child friends at this stage in my development.
But my love of insects, mammals, birds, flora and fauna has followed me my entire life. The natural world, God’s magnificent Creation that surrounds me outside everyday- this is truly a Treasure of the highest order. I have lived at this location for the past 25 years or so, and in my backyard I have gardened extensively, and tried to create a sort of wild life sanctuary. The yard’
s main anchor, the largest focal point, is a tree. Not just any tree either.
“The Tree” is a gorgeous example of an oak in all her mighty splendor. She is home to a colony of squirrels , who have thrived and froliced in her branches for many squirrel generations. every day upon waking, I go out under her massive canopy and place sunflower seeds for the furry critters and glorious assortment of bird species that drop by. As this is south Florida, and the house is backed by a strip of unmolested land all the way to the St. Lucie River on one side and the Savannah’s State preserve on the other, the variety of migrating birds is endlessly amazing.
Today, to my incredulous eyes, I watched a pair of Marsh Hawks mating, they are recent additions to the neighborhood, and think it is great that I feed their prey so well. I have seen and photographed pilated woodpeckers, cedar waxwings, goldfinches, hummingbirds, woodstork, ibis, sandhill cranes, robins, scrub and blue jays, flickers,and cardinals, just to name a few.
In the branches of the Mighty Oak they have found food and shelter, resting places and nesting places. And underneath this wonderful tree, I have lain on my back and dreamed, looking up into her healing branches and feeling a part of something grand and timeless. I tell this tree my troubles and triumphs, and now and then- whether anyone sees me or not- I hug her.
I treasure my Oak Tree.