We didn’t hear a thing. I was almost down to the water before I clued in. I found it unusually bright, as if a mythical giant has reached down and pinched off a corner of the horizon, letting in too much light. The forest canopy had changed. The space now felt too open and exposed. My brain struggled to comprehend…. Awwww……the enormous black willow tree was gone from the sky.
I hurried forward as if there was an emergency; as if I could help. But no. Everything was silent now. The November storm long gone. Only its violent destruction remained. What a wild battle it must have been with the howling lake winds battering that massive centenarian. The end came with a final thundering crash.
The remains lay sprawled across the lawn. The tree trunk slashed open revealing decayed wooded marrow. Fanning out from this are several colossal limbs, heavy and lifeless. There are hundreds of fractured branches and twigs scattering about.
The carnage is unbelievable. How will we ever clean this up? I am over whelmed. This is the third wonderful old tree to come down on the property this year. It is an end of an era as each of these trees has been over a hundred years old.
I’m puzzled over my reaction. For several days now I have felt bruised and ineffective. The same thoughts tumble around. Change, loss, extinction. Is this just a natural transition or is the spirit of my woodlot dying? It will take several generations to replace these mighty trees. Not within my future; probably not within my child’s life time. If true be told, nothing that magnificent will ever grow there again.
The local arborist has been called. One thousand dollars to cut up the truck and strategically arrange the huge stumps in a natural fashion. This is on top of last month’s bill for three hundred dollars to shred up the old maple on our front yard. We can’t afford to have the wood hauled away. A local farmer has agreed to take the branches. He is the same guy who took our maple last month.
The future – I’m going to invest some time and energy into our woodlot this spring. It is time. On both sides of the property the woods continue. It is a vital link down to the water and home to many wild animals and birds.
In preparation I have already order over a hundred sprouts: white cedar, white pine, balsam and aspen to be delivered in April. The forest floor will need some work before the planting. Something must be done about all of the wild prickly bramble and vines. They will choke out any new growth if not bush hogged away. I would like to clear away some more fallen logs before planting as well.
We are the stewardsof this property. It is our responsibility to leave it healthy and thriving.