Cedar and Sycamore

Road sceneThe more I try to avoid my neighbor, the more often we seem to cross paths—literally. This woman is older than I and smaller. Her two terriers are about the size of my cats. Twice a day or so, she walks the dogs along the road by her house—the same road I walk at least three times a week. If the dogs catch sight of me, it’s all she can do to restrain them on their leashes, so, naturally, we try to avoid each other. Trouble is, neither of us has a set schedule of when we do our walking.

Today, I chose mid-afternoon to venture out. After yesterday’s chilling rain, the skies had cleared completely and it was warm enough to go without a coat. Neighbor and dogs were nowhere to be seen as I jogged past her house. (At my age, jogging amounts to a brisk shuffle.)

Shadow of woman holding branchesOn the return trip, my senses had apparently sharpened, because I caught a strong whiff of cedar and backpedaled to investigate. Alongside the road, under some power lines, the county had delimbed some trees and mowed some brush. The closer I got to the cedar boughs, the more intense and delightful their scent became. Impulsively, I gathered an armful and continued my walking and “jogging.” When I neared the neighbor’s house, I felt glad that I wouldn’t have to explain why I was carrying cedar branches home. Then I saw her, farther up the road with the dogs. Then the dogs saw me.

“Yip! Yip! Yip.” They dragged her my direction. I tried to get close enough to be civil and neighborly, yet far enough to keep her comfortable and in control. I’m convinced that she spoke about the dogs and I spoke about the branches, but that each of us could only make out bits of what the other said. “…dogs… fresh air… tried to bite a neighbor’s hand…” “beautiful day… trimming… cedar branches… home.”

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The county trimmed limbs
near the roadsides today.
(The scent of fresh cedar
gave that away—and those
county-trimmed limbs
were soon taken away.)

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IMG_3569a Cedar and SycamoreNear home, I noticed more roadside clearing. It included an upstart sycamore tree and some cedars. These cedar boughs were full of blue berries, beautiful and bountiful. Tomorrow I will create some outdoor Thanksgiving decor with them and, hopefully, they will last through Christmas. Winter is only weeks away. Amazing! That means the sycamore outside our upper-floor window has grown six feet in half a year.

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Our Peeping Tom
grows bolder by the day—
taller too,
and never goes away.

This sycamore
will shortly get his due—
autumn’s come;
soon he’ll be on display.

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I hope trees are a worthy topic for a blog. Actually, that depends on the blog’s author and audience. I can only answer half of that equation… which I do by saying the appreciation of nature and neighbors is always worthwhile.  ♥ ~Jo

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Photo Credits: All by Jo Lightfoot

One thought on “Cedar and Sycamore

  1. Kate

    Oh, please bring these to meetings! We are your greatest audience! Your best fans!
    Can I please some day see a chapbook of your very own? 🙂


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