Sometimes, seasons collide. Although snow and ice were slowing traffic and keeping folks indoors last week, the Audubon Naturalist Society posted on Facebook to remind parents it was time to register their children for the Summer Nature Camp. A few years back, I told stories for the campers when I was the Audubon storyteller-in-residence. I saw first-hand what a wonderful nature experience the camp is for youngsters. Here is hoping parents seize this opportunity.
The back gate of the Audubon headquarters at Woodend Mansion is only a few blocks from our front door. The wooded property and classic, stately red brick mansion have been familiar to us since we moved into the neighborhood in 1970. Our now-grown children played on the property and I once worked there at such a comfortable walking distance from home.
This week, driving slowly down the street toward my house, I stopped short at the Audubon back gate when I noticed a gathering of deer casually nibbling on the hill next to the parking lot. I have seen this before, but today I stopped and took a picture. It reminded me of the changes in the neighborhood.
Deer like these once lived in a beautifully forested acreage at Connecticut Avenue between Manor Road and Jones Bridge Road. They were only seen occasionally, almost accidentally, but the entire neighborhood knew they were there. Then, the trees were felled more than 10 years ago to make room for the gated community of stately homes that you see today.
As the trees came down, the deer fled into the local area, finding homes where they could. Often, appearing baffled and frightened outside their forest, they were a traffic hazard. Over time, they found new close-by habitats—most relocated to the Audubon property. Today, many deer live and thrive there and roam the area. It is not unusual to ride down the street before and after road-crossing deer or to sight several deer standing in your front yard as you turn into your driveway.
Deer live in our neighborhood. What once was strange is now just part of an ordinary day. Today I noticed them and thought about how the deer have adjusted to their different world. Remembering how it had once been, I pictured the large stand of old, stately and gracious trees that had sheltered them. That picture made me realize I still miss those trees.
The houses are beautiful and they brought many new people to our area. They are part of the changes one sees when you have been in a neighborhood for 42 years, as we have.
You don’t have to be in an area for that long to see the changes happening around you. What’s been the biggest change you have seen in your neighborhood?