Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, February 17, 2017

A House in the Woods Is Special

"House in the Woods Getting New Roof" ©Mary Montague Sikes
Years ago, when my husband and I were newlyweds, we picked out land for our first house. After exploring many locations in our little town, we decided on some heavily-wooded property that included more than we needed. It was beautiful, remote, and lacked a street to it. At the time, we thought we would live in this house for a few years, then move elsewhere.

My father-in-law took great interest in the building of this house. My husband drew the plans. It was special.

As the construction was underway, we decided to lift the roof higher, so that second-floor rooms might be completed at a later date. The house featured a heat-pump and was the first total electric home in our community. It was special.

The house was built on a site that left as many of the natural dogwood and other trees as possible. Every window in the house provided a picturesque view of the surrounding wooded landscape. The edge of the woods on our land overlooked a creek coming off a river that the first English colonists explored long ago. This house was special.

Three children lived and grew up in this house. They played among the trees, watched the fruit trees we planted in the orchard grow tall. They saw the small magnolia turned into a giant tree overlooking the far corner of the property. This land was special.

A street I never wanted was built. We sold the property on the other side of the street for two houses to be built. We eventually built a studio for my painting, complete with skylights. This house was more special than I ever dreamed it would be. How could we leave it? It was part of the family.

As I write this post, I look out over the woods beyond my writing studio window. The trees are barren this time of

"Winter Trees at Sunset" ©Mary Montague Sikes
year, but they still intrigue me. I have photographed and painted them through many seasons of the year. I will paint them again. I wonder what images they have seen over the years.

Hurricane Isabel ripped some of the largest trees in our woods from the ground. As the waters of the Mattaponi River overwhelmed the creek, the winds destroyed our orchard. We didn't replace the fruit trees. Now, a grassy knoll with green grass stretches where the trees once stood.

We love our house in the woods. Entering my painting studio or the writing studio brings me a feeling of joy. Our first house grew into our forever home. It would be difficult to leave this special place and all the memories that lie hidden inside these walls.

As seasons pass and leave their mark, trees are beautiful any time of year. A house rising among their branches is always special.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - it sounds lovely and you obviously made a fantastic decision all those years ago and it looks beautiful too ... nature does its thing, but leaves us with less, yet more and more to come ... enjoy Spring's gentle protective greening ... loved reading about it ... cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Amazing you still live there after all these years. Doesn't sound like you have a reason to leave yet.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Your home sounds like paradise. We looked at home just outside of ABQ that reminds me of yours.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Hilary, thank you so much for your comments.

Alex, you lived all over the world, traveling as a child. What a wonderful learning experience you had. We love to travel now, but it's wonderful coming back to our place among the trees. Thank you for commenting.

Diane,it is a special place. I'm sad when any tree comes down. Living among them is special. Thank you.