I look outside my window and see the large oak trees, their branches criss-crossing across the brick faces of the rowhouses. I wonder if they were as large when we moved into this house, now eight years ago. They must have grown.
When I am outside I count the trees. I have been surrounded by five oak trees, all these years. They form a protective circle around the front of the house, their branches like arms, locking into each other. You can hardly tell where one begins and where the other ends. Electric poles and wires add to this aerial path. They are the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. I sit and watch the sunrise with a cup of tea in my hand, waiting for the first light to hit the top of the trees. The sun rises across my window, peeking over the opposite townhouse, and moves over the house, sending warm light across the leaves. The trees are covered with a light green fuzz in the spring and then form a dense green canopy in the summer. Now, in the fall, the leaves are more sparse, yet glowing with striking reds and yellows. They twirl gently in the breeze, the sunlight so golden through the leaves. I wonder if the leaves are speaking a language. What would I be able to hear if the din of traffic stopped for a moment. I should listen harder.
By my window, the trees are as tall as the two story homes, the branches ending near me. It’s a perfect stepping off point, and I could be off on a new adventure through the window onto a branch and then up into the tree. I think of my favorite childhood book series, The Magic Faraway Tree, where enchanted lands rotate above the tree, through the clouds. The branches curve upward, beckoning at me. If I look hard enough I will see squirrels, scampering through the branches, swinging up and onto the electric wires. They like to hang out here, living their lives amidst these trees in a world inside a world, hidden to others.
Whenever I have a spare moment, I’ve taken to watching the trees. Watching the sunlight filter through the leaves. They grow to occupy that yawning space inside me that’s been longing for trees, for plants, for soil.