When we first moved to our current home, we noticed that, in a rather snooty nearby neighborhood, all of the houses had names — GreyFrost, Far Look, Pleasant View, RichMan’s Cove. (Ok, I made that last one up.) We jokingly thought about naming our house. Old Oak was what we seemed to settle on. But like naming a dog or a cat, sometimes you get it wrong and it is only after some time has passed and you’ve come to a place where you know your pet, do you realize that you no longer call him by the given name.
So it was with our house. There were times that I wanted to call it Splintery Oak Floorboards, or Creaky Pipes, or Spiderville Hill. I’m not sure that its true identity has revealed itself to us, but one thing is for sure: Old Oak is the tree that stands at the top of the knoll behind our house, but it is not the house. The house and the property is a mere pretender to the name that belongs solely to the majestic oak that holds up the ravine with its root system.
Over the years, my days have been made happier when I spy wildlife out in the back. Foxes, raccoons, opossums, hawks, a coyote or two, deer have all meandered through the woods on a regular basis. The foxes are sneaky and rarely seen. The raccoons, opossums and squirrels steal food intended for the birds and are shooed away only long enough for the feeders to stop swaying on their hooks. The robins and grackles sound alerts when the hawk alights in a tree; solitary, the hawk never stays long before growing tired of the racket. The coyotes are fleeting and I’m never disappointed to see them leave. The deers are the only ones that linger, that seem to be at home on the hill by Old Oak.
And yes, there are frequently four. And sometimes at 4 o’clock.