In the Hush

Walking along the cowpath today, I encountered a downed red oak branch that took some maneuvering to move it off to the side. And then, as I emerged onto the power line right-of-way that crosses our property, I discovered another downed tree across my trail, this one a white pine.

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I tried to move it, but suddenly realized that it was more than a branch that was down. It was an entire tree, which had been cut. A bit further along, I noticed a red oak had also been chopped. And from the work left behind, I knew the culprits, their signature obvious by the hack job they so often do and mess they leave behind.

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Just as I moved onto the snowmobile trail, I saw them approaching from the north. And so I stepped off to let them pass, offering a weak smile and wave. I had half a mind of stopping them and asking why. Fortunately, the other half of my mind, the one that occasionally halts my mouth, stepped forward to zip my lips shut and force that wisp of a curve.

Last winter, a crew from Lucas Tree Service had worked on a neighboring property and promised me that there was no need to work on ours. I was relieved.

In my journey today, I realized that the only hacking done was on our land. I was furious. What was the need? The branches/trees weren’t anywhere near the line.

Irate, I continued to walk, but wondered what I’d see that would be worth noting. Suddenly, my world turned about. Who cared about the little stuff? Nothing mattered if in the rev of a power saw you could cut it all down.

I knew I didn’t have a say, especially as we are beholden to the power source since we don’t have the wherewithal to live without it.

But, more questions formed. Why was it that the Lucas Tree crew could ride ATVs during the offseason? What made them so special?

Then I had a flashback to a road in Lovell that I’d recently travelled and noted their very work–also a hack job. In fact, every time I pass by such work, I know they’ve been there before me. In the Lovell case, they tore off half of a beautiful cedar tree that was on the opposite side of the road of the power line.

And in Sweden, this past summer, I drove past two young guys spraying weed killer below the power line on more than one occasion. They wore no protective gear, except for long pants, as they moved through the tall wildflowers, ferns and shrubs. My immediate thoughts–ticks and the effects of inhaling weed killer (aka animal and people killer?). Meanwhile, their crew leader drove beside them in his air conditioned truck.

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When I saw this locust seed on the snow today, where no locust trees grow, my mood worsened. It seemed to me a hitchhiker from the ATVs.

I have no idea why I continued on, since there was obviously nothing new to see and wonder about. Until . . .

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I spotted the remains of a paper nest I’d walked past many times before. So . . . maybe there were still things to observe.

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Like the needlework frost over open puddles.

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And snowflakes beginning to gather

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in various ways.

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Upon leaves and fronds,

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fungi

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and winter weeds.

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There was the quiet of the vernal pool untouched.

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And the disturbance left behind by a deer feast.

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There were the turkeys who took advantage of goodness uncovered.

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And back at home, visitors eyeing stock before the storm worsened.

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Some came by with feathers fluffed to reduce heat loss.

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And others appeared oblivious of the smiles they garnered because of their striking beauty.

In the hush of the snow, wonder recovered.

6 thoughts on “In the Hush

  1. I sympathize with your reaction to the work on the pole line ( we have property crossed by a pole line). As you note we humans do need the benefits of the infrastructure and, compared to much of our infrastructure, is comparatively benign (no pavement or concrete). The pole line creates an environment, while very different from the forest, that is beneficial for some critters and plants (diversity?).
    By the way, you do an excellent job with your photography. In particular I love your photo of the golden rod in the snow storm.

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  2. Yes, Larry. I spend a lot of time along that line and love how it is so different from the forest on either side. In fact, just this year I found sundews, so I’m excited to have my very own carnivorous plants. And when I was a student in the Maine Master Naturalist course, it was the opening from the cowpath to the power line that served as my delimited study site since it offered an edge environment. Thanks for your complement as well. Happy New Year.

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  3. Well..at least something positive came from your walk! Those tree trimmers can be real pigs! Interesting..you are so diplomatic during “season” always careful to not say a word about your feelings towards the environment vs. mankind…even tho I know they are there and you are just doing your job! 😎

    “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Bob Dylan

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