“There was something about trees.”
My discovery started when I was fifteen and wrote a poem, “To A Tree,” and realized I had a place in this world.
Born from my girlhood growing up in a suburban town of Chicago marked by four corners, I learned about home and about making connections to it. Soon, trees became a metaphor for living, a guiding symbol for finding home, and the beginning for my story.
This became central to all my writing of memoir and fiction where home, self-discovery, and connection to the Natural World can be found. From the tops of the trees to the bottoms at their roots, and as the seasons evolve in our lives, there is a circular connection, where we can learn about ourselves in finding our places.
Nancy Chadwick grew up in a northern suburb of Chicago. Deerfield was marked by four corners where home and making connections to it would later become subjects in her writing work. After receiving a journalism degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Nancy got her first job at Leo Burnett advertising agency in Chicago, where she hoped to write mini stories to create ads for clients. But after ten years, she couldn’t get to where she wanted to be, so she transferred her skills to international banking, where admittedly, she was never a corporate banker. After ten years, she quit and wrote, finding inspiration from her years living in Chicago and in San Francisco. Her essays have appeared in The Magic of Memoir: Inspiration for the Writing Journey, Adelaide Literary Magazine, and blogs by the Chicago Writers Association Write City, and Brevity. Under the Birch Tree (2018) and her second book, The Wisdom Of The Willow (2024) are by She Writes Press.
In the front yard of my childhood home, a birch tree grows tall and arabesque. Over the years, my birch buddy and I seemed to shadow one another, and a birch tree sighting spurred memories when I sought to be at home. When I would be among the unfamiliar, my tree would tell me I was in the right place as I remembered where we met, where we came from. Through the chapters in my life, I seek connections and unearth their meanings, tenacious in my examination of my life, an exploration in what it means to belong, Under the Birch Tree is, ultimately, my success story of finding home.
Candidly engaging . . . an inherently fascinating, thoughtful and thought-provoking read from beginning to end.
– Midwest Book Review
Chadwick brings numerous anecdotes to life with vivid dialogue and details of settings and characters.
This is a book that shows how faith can help conquer life’s hardships, forging a way through life‘s challenges and how reflection and discovery provide inner-strength and belief in one’s own abilities to succeed and to never surrender. I was completely absorbed while reading Under the Birch Tree, which shows how important connections are in establishing a solid grounding in life. This is a must-read for anyone who has ever questioned their place in life.
– San Francisco Book Review