Saturday, July 29, 2006

The View from My Window

When I don't slouch and sit up straight this is the view from the window above my computer desk. A political blogger I frequent did a series called A View from My Window to get an idea of who his readers were and where they were from and to share that with all of his readers.

I sent three pictures. This was one of them and it was never posted on his blog. He did have some amazing photos from around the world and continues to post a few on occasion.

I planted everything you see in this picture when they were tiny little sprouts. There is a Travellars Palm; Ravenala madagascariensis, Manila Palm; Veitchia merrillii, the two trunks to the left, Heliconia bihai, the red flowers on both sides of the Travellars Palm, False oregano; Lippia micromera and Umbrella Sedge; Cyperus involucratus.

I also park my lawnmowers in a nook on the left side. I removed them for this shot since I was going for a world wide viewing audience. Maybe if I had left them there it might have been a kitschy enough still life that caught his interest in the hundreds submitted to be published.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Shift of a Sweet Scent

There was a little dry rot in the top railing of my deck that needed to be repaired. It is a fungus much like mushrooms that can spread through the wood. Like termites it turns wood to sawdust. The carpenter dude came to look to see what needed replacing and my fifteen year old Confederate Jasmine Vine that was going to get a little haircut ended up being completely removed from the railings of my deck.

Long ago one of these vines had been planted on a pine tree in the house where I grew up. Thirty five years later when my sister sold the house that vine had long since climbed to the top of that eighty foot tall pine tree and grown to a diameter of ten feet around. Every spring it was a solid white mass of heavenly scented bloom that people wandered the neighborhood looking for the source.

Last month when I went home I drove by our old house and there was not a tree, not a bush, not a blade of grass left in the garden where I started. It was a dirt parking lot from end to end. The pine tree and its scented cloak were gone.

Every spring my Confederate Jasmine Vine on Maui bloomed its sweet scent for me. It cloaked my deck and living room in privacy and blocked the view of my neighbor below who likes to store his overflowing collectibles at the top of his driveway right up to the property line in two storage sheds and one hideous plastic house.

There was a house under that vine. It always had threatened to engulf the house and I had to trim it three times a year to keep it a bay. Lately it had taken to regularly grabbing hold of the patio chairs. I was not as shocked by its removal as I thought I would be. Though I am feeling a bit exposed and left out in the blazing sun at the moment, I did gain a great view of my own garden from up on the deck. Now it will taunt me even more to get out there and get busy.

At first I thought I would let the vine grow back, but much smaller this time. It will quickly. My landlord fussed at me about having to do repairs on a sixteen year old house for the first time and I had second thoughts.

Things are changing for me. I am pretty sure I have made a decision to move and my garden will have to be dismantled. It is not a garden for the timid or the uninterested. It will have to be simplified and made ready for a mow, blow and go crew.

I will buy some heavy curtains to replace the sheer ones I have now to block the sun from heating up the house on this full sun western exposure and dig up the Confederate Jasmine Vine. To everything there is a season and the sweet scent has moved on with the wind.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The North Carolina Arboretum

Located just south of Asheville, the North Carolina Arboretum is a stunning garden just for the scope of its hardscape alone. I was last there about 10 years ago when much of the current facility was still under construction. The construction continues and a new large visitor facility is currently being built and new gardens added.

Ten years ago most of the plants were covered in netting because of the deer that roamed freely through the 434 acre nature park along Bent Creek that is part of the Arboretum. It has since been fenced and a decade of growth has turned tiny plants into beautiful specimens.

Pedestals in the entry fountain have been used as a container planting demonstration. Much discussion occurred about the choice to use cheap plastic terra cotta pot look alikes.

One of many Japanese Maples in the gardens. This one is to the right of the entrance to the main building.

There was an extensive Bonsai collection that was in an outdoor display area that was a garden in its own right.

My favorites of the Bonsai were the miniature forests.

The display pattern in the Quilt Garden must change every year.

But the structures that hold it in place and frame it are impressive on their own.

I wish I had paid more attention to the artist and the message of this sculpture titled "Extinction". I see a lot of hands reaching out to clutch at things.

The sweet smell of success for a garden and learning center well done. A southern Magnolia grandiflora finds a home in a mountain valley at the northern end of its native range.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cool Clear Waters

I have been reading the stories about the heatwave on the mainland and the power troubles in St. Louis and California. I have no right to complain that it is 91 or 92 degrees, hotter, more humid and earlier than what I had grown accustomed to for Maui. Still some cool thoughts are in order.

One of my excursions in Florida was to Silver Glenn Springs in the Ocala National Forest. The water in these springs like most in Florida is crystal clear and about 72 degrees.

Think cool thoughts and go for a swim in this spring. The water comes from a cave crevice in the bottom with enough force to push you backwards.

The gang of four for the trip to the springs. C,M,M,+C. We were the skinny people there that day.

Click the picture for a larger view and dive in.

This was a first for me. Seeing Vultures acting like pigeons at the picnic area. Always a dark side to life it seems.

A short trail led to a much smaller group of springs and creek that fed into the larger group for the short river run to the St. Johns River.

I hope all you hot people felt a momentary bit of relief from the heat.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

GardenWeb Turnip Recipes and Copyright

While I was doing a little searching on blogs the other night I came upon the blog of Joshua Mack vice-president of iVillage and manager of the GardenWeb. Be sure to read the About Me part on his blog. His top post at the time was about the launch of a new photo gallery feature at GW. I had seen mention of this by his cohort gwtamara in the Landscape Design forum. Several people posed questions about this new feature that remained unanswered for eight days. The first question was about copyright.

I left the following comment on Mr. Mack’s blog. It was comment number three. It was promptly deleted bright and early EST.

What a very interesting thing to find on the web.
"Wow! In fact I think I may steal some of language..."
You may want to consider some language, any language instead of leaving people's questions unanswered about the GardenWeb's new photo galleries.

As it is with the current TOS at GW "steal" is the operative word in most people's minds.

I see earlier in the week (post of 7-12) you had a nice dinner with GW's community moderators. The hot topics forum must have been a hot topic.

Posted by: Christopher C. at Jul 20, 2006 4:42:08 AM

Low and behold after eight days absence gwtamara shows up the same day to promote the new photo gallery feature back at the Landscape Design forum. She avoids the copyright question and others until forced to answer. Her response is the same; this is business as usual and this is a standard Terms of Service agreement.

No one disputes the need for a website to have copyright to post things on that site. Suspicions are raised when a phrase like, “you grant iVillage a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right (including any moral rights)” to do whatever they wish with the content submitted by the users of the site is in those TOS.

There is no intent to keep the content submitted solely to that site or its close relative sites in the same company where it was placed for free. This is a content mining operation to generate revenue for iVillage and its partners/owners Hearst Publishing, who may still have some share of the business and NBC.

What kind of business needs to claim moral rights to freely submitted content?

The internet is being bought up by big corporations and the lobbyists are in Washington trying to get the rules fixed to favor the powerful. The little guy and freedom of speech may be the losers. This gem of a statement from the GardenWeb may soon carry a lot of clout, “That would require a change to the Constitution, which, while it provides for freedom of speech, applies that only to public speech, and does not require private companies to extend free speech to others.”

I may have just fallen off the Turnip Truck when it comes to the internet and not know all there is about copyright and websites whose very substance is created by user generated content. I may not know much about guiding principles and current practices in today’s business culture. But I do know when someone is taking something that doesn’t belong to them. I learned that as a child.

”Life is what you make of it. You can be used or you can use.” This statement is from someone I believe to be a Community Moderator of the GardenWeb site. It says a lot about the values in operation there. Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising from a garden site based in New York City with TOS written up by corporate lawyers most likely from New York City and owned by media and publishing interests.

You can just call me a Turnip Meringue. I have been ignored, spun, harangued, called names, deleted and banned for calling this business to task for their greedy TOS. Item 7 is the copyright clause that I and many others find questionable. A sane person may just leave and be done with it and many have. What is up with me?

In the last story line of Seinfeld the fussy four are arrested, found guilty and jailed for violating Canada’s new Good Samaritan Law when they did not assist a man who was being car jacked.

No one will be able to say of me that I did not shout STOP! THIEF and cause a ruckus to alert others to what was going on right under many of their noses.

Cyber space is huge and more and more people are coming online all the time. They are just waiting for the next Turnip Truck to pull in.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Morning Meditation

A weekly reminder of the here and now and the place where I actually live. This is my Sunday morning view. Before I wander off into the ethereal and the attempted application of my version of justice in a complex and messy world it is good to be reminded of my speckness, just another speck of dust in the wind.

Others choose different meditations and a row of paddlers should be visible in the water by clicking the picture for a larger view. Even a surfer dude or two waits for the next rhythmic earth pulse.

I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my dreams, pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind
Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do, crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind, All we are is dust in the wind
Don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, all your money won't another minute buy
Dust in the wind, All we are is dust in the wind

Capturing the breath of the planet, Maui's new windmills are at the top of the ridge to the left of the clouds. To the naked eye the towering white windmills are a dramatic sculpture. Like the long line of red canoes near shore in the blue ocean they stand out boldly. My camera does not capture that strength, but you should be able to see them in the larger picture.

I tilt my mind in all directions to get the most from these windmills. I like to think they were placed there just for me. I need to be reminded of just how quixotic I can be.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Picking Cotton

What will the remains of our current civilization look like? What will the future inhabitants of this planet surmise about how we lived by picking through our remains?

It is hard for us to imagine how quickly time really moves and how abrupt change can be. One hundred and fourty one years ago things changed and a way of life was over for good. Thirty five years after that the growing fields that supported an old way of life were abandoned. The forest returned and hid the past from view. A mile long drive down a lime rock road through a thick dark Oak and Palmetto Palm forest ended at the waters edge to reveal a civilization from the not so distant past.

A sturdy cement hung on to be sure that everyone's voice was heard from further back than surface appearances would indicate.

Tabby is a material made primarily of oyster shells. It was collected from middens or piles, the remains left by the dietary and building habits of the Timucua people. This material was collected and used to construct the walls of houses for a certain class of people who lived and worked on this land.

A large semi-circle of small houses with two rooms were built. One room held the fireplace for the kitchen and a second much smaller room was for sleeping. I would imagine that other than those two activities not much time was spent in these huts. Most of their time was spent outdoors attending to the multitude of tasks required to survive. Their social lives were a communal affair, close to each other and open to view.

Several hundred yards away at the waters edge where the cool breeze could flow through, a house of a different class and different construction method was built.

Sea Island Cotton separated the two.

Rich man Poor man.

Like the head of the Sphinx looking out over Giza, this plaster restoration over the remains of a kitchen fireplace where thousands of meals were prepared seems to be saying, "Listen I have something to say."

A way of life that was unsustainable came to an end. A great moral disparity was too painful to endure forever. The natural processes that know time and its rhythms with much more intimacy came in to to heal the wounds and pretty up the place.

Zephyranthes grandiflora, a wonderful southern bulb bursts from the ground after a good hard rain.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My Grandmother's Story

A couple of you may have been waiting for me to post my grandmother's story. In a blog format it can be a bit long with a lot of scrolling so I was hesitant to put it on the blog. I wanted to think of a way to put it on another page and create a link to it. I found a way to do that with the Post and Comment Options in the bottom left of the post editor box. By changing the date on the post I was able to place it in my archives and can now link to that for those who want to read it.

The photo above is of the house I know my grandmother from. She and my grandfather did not move into this house until her youngest, my father was eighteen. In essence this is not the house where she raised her children. My grandfather died and my grandmother left this house long ago when she needed more care. I am guessing around 1968.

The house sits on a large lot and the back yard is the St. John's River. Despite all the hurricanes and talk of Global warming, water front property is still a major hot commodity. There looked to be a whole new house behind the original one and the property was still under construction.

When I see and hear about people determined to live on the waters edge no matter what I can not help but picture those films I saw as a child of the lemmings running to the sea and jumping in to drown. That is for another story.

My grandmother's story My Town My Dream.

Garden Rant

Sloth some times gets the better of me. This weekend I was envelloped by sloth and sat in front of this computer most of the day light hours. That probably contributed to my expulsion from the GardenWeb again. I did wander around the internet quite a bit during lulls in the tussle with the Deletetriss and came across a very interesting garden blog. The title alone caught my interest, Garden Rant

This blog is a joint effort of three women with strong opinions about the goings on in the world of horticulture. The day I visited the top post was on being envious of Rich People’s Gardens. I know a thing or two about rich people’s gardens and have been known to have an opinion or two or ten. I scoped out the site and liked what I saw and read and added it to my favorites for future visits.

I discovered there are a lot of gardening blogs out there this weekend. I already knew from participating in forums there a plenty of gardeners, novice and professionals who are not the least bit shy. It seems a lot of them like to write too. There is a lot of competition out there.

I like the idea of professional gardeners having a venue to rant. The rumblings in my head that kept telling me to write were in large part rants about subjects close to my profession. In certain gardening forums there was always a tension between the homeowners seeking advice and comfort and the professionals there. It was unspoken, but I think a large part of that was from the professionals venting their frustrations with their clients. It is certainly a lot easier to tell a stranger on the internet what you really think about their landscape choices than the person giving you a big chunk of money and who it is your job to please.

One of my rants did make it into the local paper as a letter to the editor several years back and the same subject has begun to rears its head again much closer to home. Two owners in the neighborhood association where I work have stopped to just give me a heads up that the board is thinking about adopting a policy limiting the noise level or decibels allowed by power gardening tools. My initial response is good luck with that.

There are about twenty different landscape services, large and small in this neighborhood and they want to take a vote and tell them all that you are making too much noise when you clean up my yard. It bothers me and you need to buy quieter tools. Good luck with that.

This last time I was told, “We did it in California in Palo Alto.” That is not an argument you want to use with a local or long time Maui resident. It don’t fly. If California is so wonderful and progressive and enlightened, why are you here? Local people cringe at the unstoppable Kalifornication of Maui.

The last thing I want to hear from someone who nearly ran me over in their fully loaded tricked out professionally cleaned giant SUV because they were in a hurry and so absorbed in their cell phone conversation that they were not paying attention to what was going on around them is that my tiny little two cycle machines are so loathsome that they should be banned. Obviously there is an ability here to tune out distractions.

It is up to me though with ear plugs in and a pulsating 67 decibel blower in hand to listen for the sound of oncoming office buildings so that I do not end up like some squashed possum on the side of the road. Encased in their highly regulated cocoons I can never be sure that I will be seen or heard until it is too late. Possum squash is a lovely dish by the way.

I am entirely too vain to consider plastic surgery and will have to move before the culture of Maui is so degraded that Plastic Californians no longer stick out like a giant rubber thumb here and the pressure is on to conform. But it may be the blowers that drive me out first.


As someone who makes a living doing landscape maintenance and regularly uses one of those horrible loud obnoxious blowers I had to comment on the recent letters regarding their use.

There is a reason that archeologists have to dig to find ancient civilizations. It is because the service people stopped cleaning up the mess and it just kept piling up. My clients all want their walkways, drives and pool decks cleaned of the Kihei dust and the tiny debris that falls from their jungle landscapes, the stuff that a rake can not pick up. I have to make a living here and that requires efficiency and lots of clients. I am not some babushka wearing peasant who can spend all day with a broom to earn a dollar for a loaf of bread.

The bulk of all that tiny dust and debris ends up in the lawns and plant beds were it is watered and captured and added to the soil. It is not just being pushed around by the blower. What would those bothered by the noise have us do? Should the gardeners hose off the decks? Should we vacuum it, just a blower in reverse and send it to the landfill to return to Kihei on the trade winds next week? Should we tell our clients their bill is going up for sweeping time or that they should just get used to the tiny debris?

Yes I know blowers are loud (what did you say?) and a quieter version will be invented right after a truly fuel efficient car is put on the market. And to make matters worse I smoke while I am using the blower. Obviously I will not be joining the flood of people moving to California to enjoy all the wonderful rules and regulations they have there.

Christopher C in Hawaii

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Banned from the GardenWeb Again qqq



I couldn't find that message, but there are plenty more in the Hot Topics Forum.
You also might want to look at the complete list of GardenWeb Forums.

Or, search the entire GardenWeb site for:


I have been a very bad boy. I called someone The Candyland Sandbox Bully Wannabe and The Sesame Street Strumpet. I wish I had managed to save it all before it was deleted or been able to find a cached page.

There is just something about her that apparently releases my inner Troll and The High Deletetriss in the Hot Topics forum at the GardenWeb has done her magic again. You are not to question her freedom to insult people at will and her ability to delete and remove comments and whole threads from a corporate owned discussion forum when she receives the same in return. Any hint or suggestion that she is the person behind all the disappearing threads and that her behavior is a major source of the problem is promptly removed.

"I have a long history of eating trolls for breakfast and have zero tolerance for them", she says.

She then goes on to say,"I also believe that bringing curses upon this forum goes beyond the norm and just makes the poster look like a freaking whacko, they can go back to stabbing pins in dolls in their own dungeons."

Now I came in after this and am missing the full context of this diatribe about another poster, but that is a common tone aimed at many and is often followed by a link to some silly Kiddie site. This is a reference of sorts to Spike the former owner of GardenWeb who would send people to the Disney site when he blocked them from posting.

qqq was a discussion about a poster placing that as a tag on a thread when "no contrary opinions are welcome" and seems to have started this latest purge. I wandered back in an offered support to a poster with similar views of and experience with The High Deletetriss.

I certainly can't claim innocence. I relished the opportunity to needle this nitwit a bit more.

As she herself has said,"People are what they post, .... But once they are marked by their own words, they have an uphill battle to be respected or taken seriously as posters."

And I ended up being banned (prevented from posting) from the GardenWeb once again, in my second tussle with the former Queen of the Pits.

Gardeners are a scrappy lot.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Keeping Up Appearances

The kitchen sink is piled high with dirty dishes. Unprocessed clothes are strewn on the bed in the other room from a vacation that ended two weeks ago. The invoices for last month are done a week late. The lawn is unmowed and some of the weeds are mighty big.

My routine of scheduled jobs has stretched from a normal three days to five in the absence of a lovely assistant to work with. It is hot and I am beat when I come home. My own garden and nursery languishes. The extra work I am asked to do gets put on hold. It is a chore at times to remember what I need to do just to keep up.

Social engagements and obligations are kept to a minimum or skipped. I manage late at night to feed myself. I think the bills are all paid. The cats have been fed. I must remember to brush my teeth.

Almost three years ago I got my first computer. Except for a class in college that seems an eternity ago, I had never been on a computer, much less online. The first part of the year with my new computer was spent in a futile pursuit of prurient interests. Boredom with that set in quickly. Meanwhile an epic battle was raging with The Evil Witch in Kula over business and loaned money and this machine was an invaluable tool in the lawsuit and lawyers and court rooms that followed. I found satellite photos with numbers and names of an oil well in Hackberry Louisiana on which the Witch had a claim. I put a lien on the land and the oil well too. I got my money back real quick.

I did however have to move thousands of potted plants from Kula down to Kihei and now had a tropical plant nursery tucked away in my back yard. My internet service came with a free web space and I had gotten a digital camera the second Christmas I had the computer. I built a website for my nursery to promote my hidden business. They make it so easy for complete novices now.

In the process of trying to promote my website I bumped into forums and blogs. Here were places where I could type in my less than humble opinion, hit click and Wa La, instant publication. This was so much better than that pesky editor at the local paper that kept changing and curtailing the letters I had been sending so often and so easily by e-mail.

I started actively participating in a couple of forums. I forgot about promoting my nursery. One forum or blog led to the next and I found communities of people who regularly spent time with each other.

I also learned slowly that the cast of characters in these rooms is as diverse and as complicated as the real world. I also kept reading that without eye contact, body language and tone or inflection it was very easy to misunderstand the plethora of less than humble opinions expressed on the web. This was stimulating. This was informative. Some times it was vicious. A lot of time there was genuine care and concern.

Here was the mental stimulation I kept thinking I needed, a window out of my humdrum world. I had been led to believe that I was an intelligent guy in the course of my life. The more I explored and the more I read of other people’s thoughts and ideas, the more right sized my view of my own intellect became. There were many well read, well spoken and informed people out there. I was learning things again. I was not the most brilliant person around.

I was however writing. I promised myself from the beginning that no matter where I was I would not use computer lingo or shortcuts. I would type in full sentences, correct spelling and the best I could accomplish with grammar. I had been thinking about writing for a decade. This was all practice in a big way.

I had written a short story for my nursery’s website. A loveable but deliberately tempestuous member of one forum sparked a parody. All of a sudden a bunch of short stories poured out of me and I posted them to this forum.

The online revolt and demise of a political blog coincided with the corporate greed of a favorite forum. I moved to another forum to try and make it my favorite. I still miss all the people at the old place. I already had a Blogger account from expressing my less than humble opinion else where, so when the community from the political blog moved to its new blog location it dawned on me that I could have my own blog. I could post the pictures and stories here that the greedy corporation was claiming the same full and equal copyright privileges to as me. Their intent to collect for free and then sell was transparent. The whole site sold shortly after the new greedy terms of service went into effect.

I started posting entries to my blog. It is somewhat addictive and very egocentric as another person from the political site who started a blog has noted. It is also quite time consuming. This blog has led to new connections across the globe. The places where I have or continue to participate keeps expanding. I have new e-mail friends and actually met in person a charming and beautiful woman of substance while I was on vacation that I met on the web at the political blog.

I come home nearly cooked and turn on this machine and have little spells of OCD. I no longer watch TV. It gets hard to keep up with all the connections when my brain just seems to slowly read and stare. My response is slow to come in the instant world at my finger tips and I fret over appearing to lack in proper manners.

I sit here unbathed typing. I have been sucked into cyberspace.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Hickory Winds

In South Carolina
There are many tall pines
I remember the oak tree
That we used to climb
But now when I’m lonesome
I always pretend
That I’m gettin’ the feel of hickory wind

I started out younger
At most everything
All the riches and pleasures
What else could life bring?
But it makes me feel better
Each time it begins
Callin’ me home, hickory wind

It’s a hard way to find out
That trouble is real
In a far away city, with a far away feel
But it makes me feel better
Each time it begins
Callin’ me home, hickory wind

Keeps callin’ me home, hickory wind

Words and music by Gram Parsons and Bob Buchanon

They started whispering before the plane even landed. Looking out the window as the plane descended we were low enough that individuals were recognizable, but high enough aloft to see entire communities and associations of species that were determined by the ground under their feet. Their voices reach up to me in the atmosphere they helped create.

I was prepared this time. Five years ago on a cold and drizzling night, the old live oak in my grandmother’s garden that was losing life and limbs to its advantaged age called out to me as I sat on the outside porch in the dark smoking. The low clouds reflected the city lights and the branches of this ancient oak were silhouetted against the grey sky.

Nostalgia seemed the most likely cause of this interaction but the message I was getting seemed bigger than this one garden and single tree. The old oak spoke of forests and living under a protective cover. It talked about a place where trees were allowed to grow tall, to gather in groups and follow their internal instructions. Here was a place were trees were venerated. They were not treated like shrubs and hedges ready to be hacked and mauled and made to conform to the capricious demands of men.

The ancient oak said I remember you, let me embrace you once more before it is my time to go.

I had traveled from a dry volcanic mountainside whose trees had long ago been removed. It had few trees left to cover its side and those that did were foreign to the mountain. The primary function of the trees being planted around the activities of men was never to be just simply a tree.

The most ruthless of manipulations was caused by the View. As the people crowded in demanding their own private piece of the View the trees began to suffer and to shrink down in odd stunted forms.

A pleasant wind greeted me on the exit from the airport that carried with it a familiar scent. Millions of pines joined by their kin mixed in with the air. It wouldn’t be long now before I had a chance to feel their full embrace. I drove the back country roads to the town where I grew up. They were more crowded and there were many new constructions, but mile after mile the road was a wide path cut through the forest. It pushed itself right up against and into man’s doings.

Gainesville Florida had been declared a Tree City USA back in the late 70’s or early 80’s and could proudly continue to hold that title. Here a city was enveloped by the forest. Here it was possible for an older suburban street with more generous lots to show no houses, the canopy was so dense. I marveled at the sight and the feel and the trees said welcome back.

I ventured out of the city and further into their domain and found the damage done from hurricanes two years past in the San Felasco Hammock. Many had fallen and others had shed most of their branches. They sprouted with vigor to form dense and narrow branchless versions of them selves. The trees had shrugged off these storms and moved on with the business of life.

The forest trees started to change as the land descended from the upland pine and oak to the low and wetter hardwood forest of deciduous trees. A small stream with a white sand bottom flowed through their midst and I was tempted as I had done so often as a child to get in and play. I was completely alone. The quiet allowed the voice of the forest to seep in. Numerous birds sang high above me and in all directions. A quick rustling sounded a startled deer as it leapt away. So many details of numerous tree species and smaller under story plants competed for the attention of my eye which also knew to watch the ground closely for snakes. I hadn’t managed to wear shoes; my Hawaiian slippas were such habit.

By night I visited friends and attended reunions and by day I visited the forest for the calmness my soul needs. I was welcomed every where but it was the forest who said come home.

Each wood I visited was unique. Here it was the trees who decided when there would be a view, when they would open up a vista over the Kanapaha Marsh.

On another trip to Silver Glenn Springs in the Ocala National Forest the woods had an exotic feel. The combination of water and moving further south into the transition zone to the subtropics allowed native palms to be a main player in this forest community. This is the Florida ecosystem that was the jungle background for Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan.

The palm forest did LA before LA was.

I can feel it in my bones and to depth of my soul. This place will always have a hold on me and it is through the voice of the trees that it keeps calling me home.