One day it’s -8˚ and a couple of days later the thermometer reads 50˚–our New England weather about as fickle as those of us who inhabit this space. Today was one of those high temp days and as I stepped outside, the air offered a weighty feel.
On a fluid roam with no apparent destination, but rather a strong inclination to be outside, my snowshoes sunk indicating that the snow pack is still significant despite recent rain.
I trekked out by the power line, where Lucas Tree Service had indeed completed an intended cut on neighboring land. Though I’m glad that the mighty hackers left the downed trees behind where they can decompose and replenish the earth, I’m still not certain why they needed to cut in this area. The trees were all healthy and even if wind toppled one, it wouldn’t fall toward the lines, which are due west–this is more of a north/south tunnel. I also don’t understand their need to drive all over the snow-covered vegetation located below the lines, though I do know that their mission is not to embrace what grows there. OK, enough of my rant.
While I’d saved some trees on our land from being hacked, there were others that no amount of hugging would protect. One of the most beautiful hemlocks, which had been checked upon repeatedly in the past few weeks, finally became the focus of Mr. Porcupine‘s works. He’s living under our barn at the moment and doesn’t have far to travel to reach this future Lorax tree.
Unlike Porky, I had no idea where I wanted to explore but decided a visit to the vernal pool would be a perfect place to begin. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought it was a March day, given the slushy surface of the frog pond.
Raindrops began to fall and rippled across puddles formed atop the ice. While I enjoyed the spiraling collisions, I failed to see a visitor on the beech leaf until I looked at the photo. Who it was shall forever remain a mystery.
There are lots of mysteries in these woods–thank goodness. Occasionally, as happened today, I come upon the shell of hickory nut which I presume was gnawed by a gray squirrel. Perhaps someday I’ll stumble upon the tree and know the source. I have an idea it may actually grow around the corner from us and maybe others have taken root–another mission for another day.
For today, I had no mission except to wonder as I wandered. I wondered where the snowshoe hare hid while I sloshed about for though I couldn’t quite see its tracks due to the current conditions, I knew it had been eating here, there and everywhere.
I wondered about the tenacity of the red oak that stood beside the stonewall as a youngster when this land was still farmed. And with that came a wonder about family and friends who are displaying equal tenacity to overcome barbs in their lives.
I wondered about the weevil that choose this particular pine among so many to attack. And again my thoughts wandered to my community of family and friends.
And finally, I wondered some more about the natural community that surrounded me and all that it has in store to teach me. It’s in varying stages of succession from the spirea, bulrushes and blackberries,
to young red maples and gray birches,
middle-age gray birches
and a variety of evergreens. What once was all farmland grew into a forest, which invited a variety of mammals to make this place their own, and in turn invited loggers to make the trees their own, and in turn invited the flora and fauna to return. I can’t control it all and that’s probably a good thing.
What I could control was my opportunity to wander. At the end of the day, I headed in, a bit damp, but happy for a foggy meander, hopeful for others, and grateful that I get to call this place home.