A Trail Called Home

A Trail Called Home Blog

A Trail Called Home

Posted on October 21 by Paul O’Hara in Interview, Non-fiction, Recent Releases
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A Trail Called Home: Tree Stories from the Golden Horseshoe is a love letter to the land, written by a Gen X hoser who has been observing trees and their habitats for over twenty-five years.


I knew I didn’t want to write a field guide to trees. Field guides don’t really inspire, unless you’ve already been bitten by the botany bug. Besides, the best field guide on the trees of southwestern Ontario has already been written by my friend and colleague Gerry Waldron (Trees of the Carolinian Forest).


In A Trail Called Home, I wanted to purposely traverse the line between art and science, and perhaps provide entertainment.


I knew I had to write some stories, stories of the land and the trees of the Golden Horseshoe — the trees on our streets, in our fields, in our forests and in our wetlands (the book also has a chapter on my original research on marker trees in southern Ontario).


I also knew that I couldn’t just be banging the drum about trees, so I sprinkled the book with personal stories of growing up in the Golden Horseshoe to humanize the narrative. I thought some of the stories would be novel, especially for younger generations. 


Childhood in the late ’70s and ’80s was chock full of adventure for my buds and me growing up in Oakville, Ontario. We’d just get on our BMX bikes and go — without helmets, without cellphones, even without water. Life was about playing in the woods, getting rad at The Jump, fishing on the Sixteen Mile Creek, and exploring our neighbourhood in wider and wider circles.


If my little tree book helps my fellow citizens in the Golden Horseshoe open their eyes and hearts to the land around them, then that’s all I can ask for — because I’ll tell ya, life is so much more interesting and entertaining when you get to know the largest life forms around you. It makes you feel more human. It makes you feel like you belong.


Thanks again to the team at Dundurn Press for helping make A Trail Called Home better than I could ever have imagined it.