Brook Hollow, The Place I Live
Last year my husband and I moved from the foothills of Tucson, AZ, to Brook Hollow, a small nest of wooded cul de sacs in Omaha NE.
The scene moved from golden Southwest life to the changing winds of the Plains. Now, the finger of a rivulet reached across our backyard, replacing a deep, desert wash. Blue dragonflies, not orange, whispered on pond, not pool. Before, layers of dry, intense heat encircled palo verde and mesquite. Now, cool breezes chased through the tangle of elm branches that sheltered us. Magically, summer’s lizards transformed into robins. Javalina became raccoon. On humid afternoons, no furry black tarantula unburrowed from the sand, just woodchucks lazing on the grass. Yes, coyote and roadrunner were gone, but ducks and ducklings swam by. Even a wood duck roosted high in the elm tree. Frogs spoke with croaky voices and snapping turtles crossed the road. Canadian geese came to call, trailed by fuzzy goslings.
The promise of red fox and deer once spotted in our neighborhood caught our interest. The visible creatures and rumors of other possible sightings, led me to believe that we’d moved into a kind of never land, similar to The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I waited for Mr. Toad to leap through the grass and peer through the sliding glass door of the downstairs patio. Instead, a small grey possum paused to check us out after the sun went down.
I came back to the Great Plains in an uncertain mood, missing the desert with its ever-present sunshine and even temperatures.
But I’m learning to adapt to a different time zone that swings to its own rhythms. Autumn mornings tingle. Wild turkeys trot by. Black squirrels scurry after brown ones as they forage in the woodland. Yesterday, a crowd of blackbirds gathered in the trees, before swooping off on their mission of migration. Cardinal, jay, junco, chickadee, downy woodpecker, and rose-breasted nuthatch stop by for seed power lunches. For the first time in a long while, oak and maple leaves change color before our eyes, then like squadrons of gold and scarlet paper planes, float off through the air.
Winter’s cold shadow waits in the wings to test our spirits, skies of pewter, days of snow and ice. For now, I watch for little things to surface, sending me life messages. For whatever reason, I believe most of us, most of the time, are in the place we’re supposed to be. And I find myself in Brook Hollow. Or put another way, I’m walking through the pages of The Wind in the Willows.