We’ve lived in our current house for almost 25 years. The forest behind the house was one of the reasons we bought it in the first place; my office is the best room in the house because of the view from the window. Over the years the trees have grown – the maple in our yard acting as a foreground to the taller tulip poplars behind. There is a holly that is the only tree that keeps its green in the forest.
But it wasn’t like that in the beginning. The forest is growing on a slope…down to the Middle Patuxent River. You can see the sky through the trees because of that slope and because the hemlocks that used to grow in the forest are all gone. I remember seeing them in the early years; the trees seemed to have crows at the top frequently; I always thought there must have been crows’ nests in the hemlocks. But then West Nile Virus killed almost all the crows and wooly adelgid – I am assuming - killed the hemlocks.
I don’t know exactly when it happened, but the hemlocks are gone, and they won’t be coming back. The crows, on the other hand, seem to be rebounding. I have seen more each year for the past several years. Today I am missing the hemlocks.