At Home in Nature
I am getting sleepy, for I must confess that it is past bedtime. I went to church this morning, but this afternoon I have been far afield, way over the hill and beyond, to an unusual distance. Alas, when I went to see my beloved big pitch-pine tree that I loved best of all the wild trees that lived in Berwick, I found only the broad stump of it beside the spring, and the top boughs of it scattered far and wide. It was a real affliction, and I thought you would be sorry, too, for such a mournful friend as sat down and counted the rings to see how many years old her tree was, and saw the broad rings when good wet summers had helped it grow and narrow ones when there had been a drought, and read as much of its long biography as she could. But the day was very lovely, and I found many pleasures by the way and came home feeling much refreshed. I found such a good little yellow apple on one of the pasture trees, and I laughed to think how you would be looking at the next bite. It was very small, but I nibbled it like a squirrel. I found a white-weed daisy fully blown, but only an inch high, so that it looked as if somebody had snapped it off and dropped it on the ground; and I was in some underbrush, going along the slope, and saw a crow come toward me flying low, and when I stood still he did not see me and came so close that I could hear his wings creak their feathers — and nearly in the same spot I thought I heard the last of the “creakits.” I wished for you so much, it was a day you would have loved.
–Sarah Orne Jewett (Letter to Annie Fields, November 1884)