This time of year our yard is an aviary. Birds of all variations flit about from the live oak to the bay laurel to the pecan and magnolia. They build their nests in the thorny holly bushes under our windows, and in colorful boxes dangling by fishing line from branches of our dogwoods. It’s loud around here this time of year. And it’s awesome.
We moved to Charlotte from Florida in 1999. There was a job, but there were offers from Richmond and New York City, too. Charlotte felt different. Fertile. And my God, the trees. On the advice of a very important Charlottean, we bought a house close to town. An old house on about a half-acre of shaded land. It didn’t take long, however, for us to realize that even though we were living in the city, it didn’t feel like city living.
The night after our first Thanksgiving in our new old house, I went out to the trash can, opened the lid, and came face-to-face with a raccoon feasting on the cavity of the turkey I’d tossed out the night before. He screamed. I screamed. Then I jumped, turned, and nearly knocked myself out on a carport post. The next morning in the bright of day, and with a knot on my forehead, I used a long stick to open the lid of the trash can, and waited a half-hour for the beast to emerge. He didn’t. He’d escaped during the night. I was grateful.
The run-in with the raccoon was the first of many with woodland creatures on our property over the years. From hawks and owls, to opossum and chipmunks (even a 6-point buck this spring), it’s a constant reminder that despite sleeping just seven minutes from Trade and Tryon, we really live in an urban forest.
And it’s awesome.