Nature's Gifts Posted by Smiling Moon at 01:08 AM on March 17, 2010 When I was leaving an unhealthy relationship and searching for a home on my own, I found a vacant house where an old Irish woman once lived with her husband and animals. As I drove up to the house surrounded by many pines, bushes and other welcoming sites, I had tears in my eyes and my heart pounded with the beauty of this serene place in the country. As I walked around, touching the trees, smelling the air, knowing deep inside me that this was where I was supposed to be, I 'asked' the woman (who had long passed) that if she had any way to see to it that I could live there, to please make it happen, as I had deep respect for this location and all the nature surrounding it. I took two more steps and there, at my feet, was a tiny bird's nest. I took that as a sign that she was telling me, "Here is your home." I bent down and carefully lifted the small nest and held it in my hands as I softly cried tears of joy. I took the nest with me. I phoned the owner of the property and the rest, as they say, is history. I lived there for nine glorious years, working hard to keep it nice, caring for the home on 3 acres, making friends with the fish in the large pond (my 'water babies'). I bought a telescope and learned all the constellations in the dark, country sky. The birds came to my feeders, squirrels bounded up and down the giant pines, hummingbirds fed from the numerous flowers that grew. I sang as I mowed the expanse by push mower every three or four days. Many deer came so close to my front window, and I think they must have been watching me inside my home each evening. There were so many beautiful things I could list about 'my little piece of heaven' as I called it, even though it wasn't easy taking care of everything myself. I loved the flora and fauna of my mountain home and enjoyed exploring all that it had to offer. I saw many wild animals while I lived there: bear, red fox, blue heron, pheasant, turkeys, bobcat, wolf and I was totally surprised, but had to laugh when the neighboring farmer's Scottish Highlander cattle family decided to take a walk and enjoy my front yard. I grabbed the video camera and filmed four of them (2 cows, a young one and the bull) as the bull comically scratched his back against one of the trees, shaking it from top to bottom! After what seemed to be most of the afternoon, I encouraged them to be on their way home, as I am certain their owner would wonder where they went! He was most likely mending fences. I measured the depth of their footprints as they were pressed into the earth from the weight of the magnificent creatures. My fingers fit into it up to my palm. I had many wonderful moments there. After a long day's work, I would stretch out on my hammock, secured between two strong trees, and swayed amongst the sassafras saplings and baby pines that I nurtured and watched grow. My mother would often ask me, "How can you live up in the woods all by yourself? Aren't you afraid?" We are clearly cut from different cloth, as I was in my glory in those mountains. I had a black snake who I named 'Slither' who kept the mouse population down. I was never afraid of her. When I would catch a mouse in mt home, I would set it out on the post for owls and other birds of prey to feed. They must have been quite thankful, as I supplied them well. It wasn't all fun and games. Oh, I had the most lush crop of poison ivy all over the place until I learned what to do and not to do about it! The water wasn't good to drink so I had to go to the natural fountain every week to fill the water jugs. I could hear the ornery red squirrels running through the rafters as I lay in bed at night. I enjoyed finding my 'little treasures' as I walked the property and around the pond: stones, feathers, seeds, berries, flowers, fungi of every sort. Thinking back, I had many lovely moments there, digging many rocks out of the soil to making a small garden, surrounded by wildflowers and streams. Even though I no longer live there, that sweet place will be forever in my soul for so many reasons. My favorite and most beautiful companion dog is buried there, along with my heart.