Do you know of a place near where you live, a place you consider an “escape,” and without fail, can, after a time, leave feeling refreshed and more alive? Meet the King:
His highness is nestled off the road among acres of holiday trees, the trail to which never meets a road. In other words, it helps to know the owner. The King’s massive branches would be hard to conceal; still, all of what I’m about to show you is gloriously private.
This is my therapy, my escape, and I’ve been asked to share (in fact, I’ve been wanting to share). I am enormously blessed that all of this is close. And, I can’t get enough.
I hop on somewhere in this stretch, next to this mass of rhododendrons the offerings of which–showy, deep pink blooms–greet me each year and stand well over my head. When in full bloom, it’s a sight to behold.
Heading toward the apple orchard, the trail curves to the right (near some delicious berries. Never mind how I know).
The trail appears to end, but it does not; it meanders to the left. At the end of the apple trees, large oaks provide housing to many species of birds. It can be a musical delight depending on the day.
As I turn around and face the field, I spy his majesty.
But, first the trail and surrounding fields; we’ll get back to the King. Various crops are grown here, including mustard, radish, and several types of wheat grass. Mustard, as expected, forms a striking, yellow canopy, but it’s the radish that knocks my socks off. When in full bloom it appears as a coat of new snow. It’s simply gorgeous. The bulbs, incidentally, which are white, are not eaten; this crop is grown for seed.
The trail curves towards the holiday trees. How many of you have never had a live/cut Christmas tree? It may seem like a silly question, but many people don’t buy a live tree. They are very expensive when purchased out of state. The smell of a freshly cut Doug Fir or Noble is indescribable and becomes part of the holiday experience. (We’ve also purchased them live/uncut to later plant in the yard, as did my parents. If space is available, this could be the start of a great tradition.)
Let’s have a tour:
One of my children’s favorite holiday pastimes was to watch the helicopters come and go as they loaded cut and wrapped trees for market. It’s an amazingly quick (and noisy) process.
Wildlife varies around the property. Some years we see wild rabbits, others we see none. When bunnies abound, this is where they live.
We’ve seen Heron, bats, nutria, too many rodents and snakes to name, racoon and skunk families, coyotes, and the variety of bird species is something I’d like to document. While I have yet to see a deer, family and neighbors assure me they live nearby.
I once stepped on a live snake, one smaller than this gem, here. I’d apparently lost control of my faculties and dared look off trail.
I don’t dilly dally, I move, but I like to look around. When I put my foot forward, it was too late. The nerve! To bask in the sun ON MY TRAIL! Next round, Slimy was gone. As long as they don’t wrap themselves around my ankles, or slither up my leg, I’m fine. Just fine…
Let’s step inside:
A photographer’s dream is the seasons, and being open to change. These are a few of my favorites, when playing with lighting, angles, and any plant in season, or not. There is always color.
And now, my King.
We are told my King maple is somewhere between 150 and 200 years old. If you look closely, you can see that farmers have farmed around the King. He sits smack dab in the middle of these holiday trees, and the rows have been carefully planted around his highness.
It’s hard to get a true feel for the enormity of my King, but most of those holiday trees stand above my head. I’m standing beneath the King near that falling branch, below:
Children prior to mine living in our “neighborhood” must have visited with regularity; the sign–it may have been the beginnings of tree house steps–is unreadable.
Thanks for joining me on my daily hike. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed sharing. It’s my place of peace, my therapy (which I almost always need after seeing Slimy and his extended family).
❤ Peace to all. ❤