Did I tell you there is a forest in my backyard? Behind my fence are twenty-two acres of typical northwest woods with mature Douglas firs, majestic old maples and trails through brush frequented by dogs and their walkers. They form a wonderful backdrop to my yard and permeate everything with fragrance.
Many birds and small mammals call these woods home. There are chickadees, sparrows, wrens, hummingbirds, flickers and jays and juncos. I’ve heard the great horned owl hooting deep in the night and seen the pileated woodpecker stop by for a drink during the day. And then there are the rabbits, and raccoon, and deer who sometimes stop by to say hello.
Not only animals, but young men also play in the forest. I ran wide eyed for cover the first time I saw them rush by in army fatigues. I heard of them later at the hearing where we gathered to fight for the woods. You see, those twenty-two acres have been sold. To a developer. We tried to explain what a loss it would be to the city and neighborhood and to the birds and animals who live there. How the woods should be kept just because. Because they can never be replaced. Because deer feed there without fear. Because woodpeckers build homes inside standing snags. Because boys run and build forts and play army.
Stand near them, walk through them and you will know why.
But we did not prevail. I did not expect we would. They have promised to keep a buffer of trees around the perimeter. We hope they keep their promise. And we hope the trees in the buffer zone are strong enough to stand without their many companions who must come down to make way for the houses.
We have not yet heard the trucks rolling in or the chainsaws doing their deed. We will continue to enjoy this forest in our backyard until we do.