Sally Evans, 2006 – Founder & Emeritus –
I have lived in Dallas for almost sixty years and in one house for fifty seven years. The house was “way north of town” when we bought it. The big lot next door was never sold for all these years and it has been my view of nature from my kitchen window.
A wide swath of trees and vines and junipers has grown up along the back by a creek. The front part was mowed several times a summer but often the grasses grew knee high and swayed in the breezes. That lot became the resting place or home for the wild life that moved up and down the creek. Birds roosted or nested in the trees and shrubs. In one far corner a cottonwood tree grew twice as high as the rest of the trees and became the site for hawks sunning or scanning for prey. Flocks of birds would stop in the top branches to rest and recoup. Families of crows would convene to pester the hawks or to just the surrounding territory and then move on to another perch. Squirrels ran up and down the trunk or leaped from branch to branch. One December night two great horned owls sat high in the tree and called and called to some unknown recipient. And one summer a pair of Swainsons hawks nested there. Birders said it was not probable but photos of the birds verified their site.
This very morning crows chased a large hawk out of the tree about dawn and then hasseled a vulture that happened by and wanted to rest a moment. As the crows chased the vulture another hawk sneaked up the tree and found a good resting site.
But the owner of the lot finally gave in and sold the land and the new owner is eager to build in this new year. She has already decided that the land needs to be cleared and that the big cottonwood must come down as it is a hazard. My kitchen window will no longer see a grassy meadow or spring arriving on the trees. The coyotes or occasional bobcat will not saunter by on their way to somewhere. My next kitchen window view will be of bulldozers, trucks, piles of building supplies, and dirt. Within a year I may have a view of a driveway and a garage door or a fence, and a rooftop blocking the sky. To my tiny wild place in north Dallas I must say goodbye.
I sat by the window and watched the morning come. The light on the horizon was not from the rising sun. It was city lights out by the main highway; and slowly but deliberately they were coming my way.
I sat on the porch in the noon day sun and saw houses being built – one by one. And in the afternoon when nature is at rest, the sight and sounds of people seemed the busiest.
Nighttime came – my timepiece told me so; but I couldn’t see it due to city lights – row after row!
Darkness has come and I have grown old but I still remember my country road. But my children’s children will never feel a world that is natural – a world that is real!