Chaplin, Connecticut is rural – a split between farmland and forest. I live in one of the only “neighborhoods” in town; the historic district. I wanted to live “out in the woods” and I didn’t expect to find myself with neighbors close on either side. The house itself is fairly unremarkable, and has a wonderful front porch, shaded by a huge Norway Maple, that overlooks the street.
But what really drew me to this place was the property itself. I have 2.5 acres, the largest on the street. Stone walls mark the property lines all the way around and large old maple, ash and spruce trees provide screening from the neighbors on either side. About a quarter acre of the backyard is open and the rest of the property is wooded.
I have spent my time carving a trail through my woods and creating gardens between the backyard and the woods. The gardens started out formal and orderly and have evolved now into something a bit more organic and untamed…more reflective of myself. The rose garden still resists the chaos but the herbs and perennials have now run wild. Oregano and sage twist around each other. Iris, foxgloves, and lupine rise at will.
Beside all this disorder is a small oasis – a 200 gallon koi pond and bog garden surrounded by native witch hazel and elderberry. I can sit, out of sight of the house and listen to the trickle of the waterfall while songbirds flit back and forth on the feeders just behind me. My second haven is at the edge of the woods – an outdoor shrine to the woodland spirits, fern garden, and my bug-protected hammock. From here, I can see the garden and woods. I hear the waterfall, the songbirds and I have the whisper of the breeze through the treetops.
This is MY place, my home. If I cannot actually be out in the wilderness, this is where I find my own sense of place – what has become my place of solitude, my own little sanctuary.