In summer, Arkansas bakes like crisp sugar cookies. The sun beats down and the miasmic heat rises up in humid waves.
Yet when I turn into my neighborhood on my walk home, the temperature suddenly drops ten degrees. There's a breeze where there was none before. I'm walking under the shade of deciduous trees several decades old.
My town isn't rich in trees. Growing as fast as it has, most homes are in subdivisions less than ten years old. They lawns are dotted by spindly saplings. The roofs of even modest ranch houses tower over the few planting in their lawns. For those of us lucky enough to live in neighborhoods built in the fifties or sixties, however, our houses are dwarfed by the tall trees all around. Block after block basks under an unbroken canopy.
Trees have their downsides. It's hard to grow a lawn underneath them (which gives me an excuse for not even trying). They sometimes blow over during the fierce storms that barrel through in spring. One of our new neighbors with a corner lot down the street cut down five huge trees on her property as soon as she moved in, replacing them with grass and foliage beds and weeping willow plantings that look too sad to grow past three feet in height.
I love to look out our bay window any time of day and see dappled shadow as far as my sight reaches. I love to live under the outspread arms of oak and elm.