Although I have lived here for decades,
I wasn't born in the Shire,
making me a "come-here" to the local folk.
Even so, part of me always knew I was a Virginian,
misplaced from my real home by an accident of birth.
From my childhood paintings of old mansion houses
surrounded by azaleas and live oaks,
to my affection for the melodic 19th century songs about Virginia,
my heart was here even before I knew it.
So imagine my interest
when I discovered a tiny bit of "Virginia" had come to find me first.
Decades and decades before I was born,
a cedar tree took root and grew a few yards
from what would become my childhood home.
Not just any cedar tree, a juniperus virginiana Eastern red cedar tree.
It stood watch at the edge of our lane like a sentry: still, stately, and stock straight.
I always enjoyed the redolent fragrance of the cedar,
the tiny blue berries on its silver-gray foliage, its shaggy ridged bark.
This reminiscence about our old cedar tree was sparked
by a recent visit to the Arboretum,
where two beautiful Eastern Red cedars stand side-by-side.
Then, coincidentally, when I was driving home one day,
I noticed another towering cedar:
Its trunk, with its deep ridges, is particularly fascinating:
And this last photo is my favorite. The afternoon light gives it
a warm, cinnamon-y quality and accentuates the shadows,
making the greenery and cedar trunk look somewhat magical.