My husband and I bought our first home in 2004. It's in Chicago city limits, so we're surrounded by the very typical hustle and bustle of busy street noises, trains speeding by (or quite slowly dragging through intersections), garbage trucks interrupting sleep with clanging and banging of metal and refuse, motorcycles (in the summer) revving their freedom, and snow blowers (in the winter, and sadly, spring as well) chugging their frustration. I grew up in the city as well, but have always been a country girl at heart. Even escaping to a well-worn forest preserve path was respite enough for me to reconnect to the nature that made me feel better in every sense of the word. So, when we purchased our home, my favorite part was not the kitchen, nor the driveway and garage: it was the 70+-year-old Tulip Poplar that was in the corner of my new backyard. The first time I saw her, she was bright with blossoms, so needless to say, it was love at first sight. Spending time in our yard for me always meant either sitting at the outdoor table facing her or directly under her canopy, enjoying the view from a more immersed-in-nature perspective.
When we got our dog, my first child, I spent many days playing with him, training him and reading a book with him on my lap beneath her cloaking cover of leaves. When my daughter was born, countless afternoons and evenings were spent on a blanket under our tree, many times prying a flower out of her quick hands, then later putting them behind our ears as she got older.
I had romanticized the Willow tree since childhood and always swore I'd have one when I grew up, but I can honestly say that I'm happy to have my fate intervened by our very own version of perfect that sits in our yard and welcomes us home. And to me, she gives me the sense of being home and being in nature at the same time.