When we first moved into our subdivision six years ago, I could still see the woods from our front window. Not deep, dark woods, but an area of land not yet razed for more cookie-cutter houses. It was mostly brush, weeds, and mesquite trees, patches of land once pasture and now sitting in wait for its demise. I liked the woods being visible from our house. It was one of the reasons why I wanted to buy the house. As a child, I grew up in a small town, but I often visited my grandmother in the country, and woods were close to her house.
Whenever I looked out at the tree line, I was reminded of my childhood with my Grandma, one of the happiest times of my life. For me, forest meant a sense of comfort, the comfort of my Grandma’s house, of building forts in the woods, of exploration and excitement. All those memories were tied to the undeveloped area around my house, and I hoped it would stay untouched for as long as I lived there.
But those hopes were misplaced or naïve. A couple of years after we moved in, more houses were built across the street, and as the months went by, more houses popped up like a disease. Now the tree line is blocked from view, the woods enveloped by a long line of brand new homes. However, there is still an area of untouched land; a place I envision still has a few wild animals, survivors who are watching as suburban sprawl continually encroaches on their native habitat.
I don’t know what the future holds for the little patches of woods left, but I hold out the dream some it will still remain. Every day I leave to go to work, I can see the edges of forest still there, peeking over the roofs of homes, and I know there is still hope.
For that, I have faith.
Carl Wade Thompson is a poet, essayist, and the graduate writing tutor at Texas Wesleyan University. He has published poetry and memoir essays in The Mayo Review, The Concho River Review, One in Four, Anak Sastra, The Galway Review, The Blue Collar Review, Piker Press, The Eunoia Review, Blue Minaret, Nebo Literary Magazine, Alphelion Literary Webzine, and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. He lives on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. His poems explore the link between the urban and the rural.
Photo by Julia Keller